A Moral Analysis of Artificial Intelligence in Programming

Since Isaac Asimov’s short tale Runaround was published in 1942, it has been recognized that Artificial Intelligence (AI) raises ethical questions and issues. Asimov, a science fiction writer, foresaw the challenge of creating robots with the capacity to think independently and make decisions of their own, and laid out his three Laws of Robotics to address it. This has been a subject of concern for as long as AI has existed and is still an issue of great importance today.

As a visionary thinker, Isaac Asimov foresaw a time when humans would create robots to complete mundane tasks. The fundamental concept of the Three Laws of Robotics, which he proposed, has endured, despite being subject to further discussion and even dispute.

Isaac Asimov’s suggestion to incorporate ethics into the development of artificial intelligence (AI) was a highly commendable one. Asimov envisioned a future driven by AI in his novels, however, this future has yet to materialize. As AI technology progresses, the issue of whether machines can possess intentional objectives has become a source of much contention.

The Ethics of Robots and Other Machines

The increasing prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has resulted in the consideration of creating self-aware robots, which brings with it a range of ethical considerations. These can be divided into two main categories: firstly, the moral status of the robots themselves, and secondly, the development of ‘safe machines’, which are designed in such a way that they are unable to cause harm to humans or any other morally significant entities.

Due to this divergence, the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are now two distinct areas of study. Roboethics, which concentrates on the developers of robots, is the primary focus. Research is conducted into how people interact with AI that ends up being more intelligent than its creators, exploring how it is engineered, utilized, and abused.

Lastly, we must consider the ethics of machine systems. In this context, AI-enabled computers are seen as Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs) that can make complex decisions based on a multitude of criteria. Machine ethics looks at the morality of these systems to ensure they are ethically responsible and make decisions that are in the best interest of society.

By segmenting the ethical considerations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into two distinct subgroups, we are seeking to resolve, in a general sense, the most common problems which arise when dealing with AI and the interactions between humans and other sentient beings. Our team are actively deliberating the moral ramifications of working with artificially intelligent robots as their ubiquity in society increases. This debate draws on the perspectives and proposals of a wide range of people, from philosophers and academics to businesspeople and government policy makers.

When it comes to morality, what role does AI play?

There are various ethical issues to consider when developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based software, as well as when businesses and society as a whole use these technologies. As AI and ML become increasingly prevalent, it is important to be aware of the potential implications of their use and to ensure that they are used in a responsible and ethical manner.

As AI developers, it is important to take into account more than just the technical considerations when creating a balance between the features our users require and the potential outcomes of implementing them. Poor results may arise from a design flaw, a lack of regulation of the algorithm, or the exclusion of a feature with uncertain usefulness.

Microsoft’s Tay chatbot from 2023 serves to perfectly illustrate this point. The program was designed to learn from its interactions with Twitter users, continually adapting and improving its functionality as it went. However, the platform’s users were able to manipulate the algorithm by flooding it with offensive and abusive content, causing the chatbot to take a turn towards extreme negations and advocating for genocide within a matter of hours. From a technological aspect, the chatbot was functioning normally, yet this was clearly a moral failure.

In 2023, Google encountered a highly concerning issue with its face recognition technology in Photos. The programme mistakenly identified Asian-Americans as gorillas, a mistake which was met with a great deal of criticism. In response, Google’s engineers removed any references to the animal in the programme. While it is likely that the creators of the technology did not deliberately set out to cause offence, it is possible that misunderstandings and careless coding can lead to unintended consequences.

Companies have a duty to ensure that they are adhering to ethical standards when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is understandable that businesses would be attracted to AI, as it can provide a way to reduce costs. By using AI-powered software, companies can process large amounts of data quickly and effectively, providing recommendations and even autonomous decisions.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be highly beneficial to organizations, as it can save them a substantial amount of money and time, since employing individuals to achieve the same results would require far more resources. However, it would be ethically dubious to approach the AI dilemma solely from a cost-saving point of view. One issue is that AI programmes cannot completely comprehend the consequences of their own advice and strategies.

There is, however, the potential for significant impact on the people who work in businesses, particularly those who could be forced out of the job market due to the increasing prevalence of automation. This could have a detrimental effect on the lives of those affected.

It is of paramount importance to note that in the current environment, corporations have the ultimate power when it comes to setting the moral boundaries for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Companies have the final say in the moral standards of AI, as they are the ones creating the multitude of AI-powered applications. We have recently observed a surge in the establishment of ethics committees at all sizes of internet businesses, ranging from the giants like Google and Facebook to the smaller startups, however, the majority of decision-making authority still lies in the hands of private interests that place their profits above the public welfare.

Given the complexity of the situation, the involvement of a third party is now essential. It is essential that the public sector and the general public take an active interest in, and contribute towards, the development of AI applications for the benefit of society. This is particularly pertinent as the majority of people will be impacted by the advancements made in AI technology, and it is therefore imperative that their voice is heard and taken into account as AI technology continues to evolve.

It is essential that governments and public organizations take a proactive role in ensuring the ethical implications of AI development are addressed. Appropriate legislation must be established to ensure that public interests are safeguarded and special interests are regulated. By doing this, governments can protect the welfare of the public.

The general public must also be aware of the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI). In an era where people tend to be complacent in sharing their private information, it is essential that we as consumers are knowledgeable about every element of AI. Are you able to explain how AI works? What happens to our data after being processed by machines? Who has access to this data, and where does it go? These are all questions that require thorough consideration.

Facial recognition technology has the potential to move from its current application of simply identifying an individual in an image to far more Orwellian uses such as mass surveillance, without an adequate conversation around the ethical implications of such advanced artificial intelligence software being employed. It is essential that we explore the possible ramifications of such technology before it is allowed to become commonplace.

Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence Age

It is evident that there is a challenge present. Rather than inquiring “Can we do this with AI?”, we should instead be asking “Should we do this?” and “If so, how should we do it?” This is due to the fact that “Can we do this with AI?” is an inappropriate query to be posing given the recent advancements which merely concern developers and businesses.

The changing focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has created a need for the development of guidelines, rules and regulations to oversee its commercial use. For this ethical framework to be effective, its primary purpose must be to limit the potential for ethical dilemmas generated by the misuse of AI systems. In order to achieve this, an EU-assembled team of experts has identified a number of critical factors which must be taken into consideration.

  • Management by humans: It is essential that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not used to supplant or curtail people’s autonomy. It is important that humans must always remain a supervisor of automated systems and be able to evaluate whether the program’s results are reasonable.
  • Strong protection: It is essential that all AI systems are highly secure and precise, as they handle sensitive information and make decisions based on this data. Therefore, they must be equipped to cope with external stressors and rely on their own judgement.
  • Confidential information: Security affects the acquired data since it must guarantee the confidentiality of all information.
  • Transparency: It is imperative that even the most sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are comprehensible by humans. Companies that employ AI should ensure that it is straightforward for their customers to comprehend the rationale behind the program’s decisions.
  • Unique in Their Variety and independence: It is important that access to AI systems is unrestricted, regardless of age, gender, race, or any other factor. Moreover, it is essential that AI systems do not allow any of these characteristics to influence their decisions or outputs.
  • The good of society: In order to facilitate the development of positive and lasting change for society, it is acceptable for Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to pursue any objective. The expert group drew attention to the importance of all of these objectives being of a sustained nature, including taking into account ecological responsibility within AI solutions.
  • Accountability: It is essential that the behaviour of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is verifiable in order to prevent any undesirable outcomes. Furthermore, it is imperative that any unexpected consequences arising from the use of AI are reported without delay once they are identified.

It will be no easy feat to surmount such a challenge. The suggested core principles appear to be an outstanding place to begin, however, in a climate where governments are struggling to keep pace with the exponential development of AI and companies are fighting to retain control of such innovations, this appears more like an idealistic fantasy rather than a reality.

It is evident that the ethics framework in question is not sufficiently advanced to be considered a mature solution to ethical considerations in the age of Artificial Intelligence. In fact, it is more akin to the simplified Asimov norms. Nevertheless, the framework and the author’s goal of ensuring that Artificial Intelligence is used to benefit humanity and not solely for the benefit of individuals is shared.

It is clear that the path ahead is filled with potential risks and uncertainties, and we must remain vigilant in order to ensure that Artificial Intelligence (AI) contributes to the betterment of society rather than leading us to the dystopian future which some have warned of. To do this, we must remain conscious of the developments that are taking place and be aware of the potential implications of AI.

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