Artificial Intelligence Seeks An Ethical Conscience

LEADING ARTIFICIAL-INTELLIGENCE RESEARCHERS gathered recently for the prestigious Neural Information Processing Systems conference have a new topic on their agenda. Alongside the usual research, discussions, and socializing: concern about AI’s power.

The issue was crystallized in a keynote from Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford. The conference, which drew nearly 8,000 researchers to Long Beach, California, is deeply technical, swirling in dense clouds of math and algorithms.

Crawford’s good-humored talk featured no equations and took the form of an ethical wake-up call. She urged attendees to start considering, and finding ways to mitigate, accidental or intentional harms caused by their creations. “Amongst the very real excitement about what we can do there are also some really concerning problems arising,” Crawford said.

One problem occurred in 2015, when Google’s photo service labeled black people as gorillas. More recently, researchers found that image-processing algorithms both amplified gender stereotypes.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Artificial Intelligence Seeks An Ethical Conscience

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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