A Moral Analysis of Artificial Intelligence in Programming

As early as 1942, through the publication of Isaac Asimov’s short tale Runaround, the ethical concerns associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been acknowledged. Asimov, a renowned science fiction writer, anticipated the difficulty of building robots capable of independent thinking and decision-making, and developed his three Laws of Robotics to address it. This has been a persistent concern since the advent of AI and remains a significant issue today.

Isaac Asimov’s forward-thinking nature led him to anticipate a future in which humans would develop robots to carry out menial tasks. Despite being subjected to further analysis and even debate, his foundational notion of the Three Laws of Robotics has persisted.

Isaac Asimov’s proposal to integrate ethics into the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was truly praiseworthy. Although he predicted an AI-driven future in his literary works, it has not yet come to fruition. With the advancement of AI technology, the question of whether machines can have deliberate objectives has become a topic of heated debate.

The Morality of Robots and Other Machines

The rising prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has sparked a discussion on the potential creation of self-aware robots, leading to various ethical considerations. These can be split into two primary categories: the ethical status of the robots themselves, and the creation of ‘safe machines’ that cannot cause harm to humans or other entities of moral significance.

As a result of these differences, the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have now transformed into two distinct fields of study. Roboethics, focusing on robot developers, receives primary attention. Research is aimed at investigating how people interact with AI, which can potentially surpass its creators in intelligence, examining its construction, application, and misuse.

Lastly, we need to contemplate the ethics of machine systems. Here, computers empowered by AI are viewed as Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs) capable of making intricate decisions based on numerous criteria. Machine ethics inspects the morality of these systems to ensure they are ethically accountable and make decisions that serve the greater good of the society.

By bifurcating the ethical considerations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into two distinct subcategories, we aim to holistically address the most prevalent issues that arise while dealing with AI and the interactions between humans and other sentient beings. Our team actively discusses the moral implications of working with artificially intelligent robots as their presence in society continues to grow. This discourse references the stances and proposals of a diverse group of individuals, including philosophers, scholars, entrepreneurs, and governmental policymakers.

What part does AI have in ethics?

Numerous ethical aspects merit consideration while developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based software, as well as while employing these technologies in businesses and society at large. With the rising popularity of AI and ML, it is crucial to comprehend the possible consequences of their utilization and guarantee that they are employed in a responsible and ethical manner.

As AI developers, it is vital to consider more than just the technical aspects when striving for equilibrium between the functionalities our users demand and the possible consequences of their implementation. Poor outcomes may result from a defect in design, inadequate algorithm oversight or the omission of a feature with uncertain utilitarian value.

Microsoft’s Tay chatbot of 2016 serves as a prime example of this issue. The AI was programmed to learn from its interactions with Twitter users, continuously refining and advancing its capabilities as it evolved. However, users of the platform could alter the algorithm by deluging it with repugnant and uncivilized content, resulting in the chatbot transforming into an advocate for genocide within mere hours. Technologically, the chatbot was functioning normally, yet the incident was evidently an ethical catastrophe.

In 2015, Google faced a highly alarming dilemma regarding its face recognition technology in Photos. The software inaccurately identified Asian-Americans as gorillas, a blunder that was met with extensive criticism. In response, Google’s engineers eliminated any references to the animal from the program. Though it is likely that the technology’s creators did not intend to cause any offense, misunderstandings and inattentive programming can result in unintended ramifications.

Companies have an obligation to comply with ethical norms concerning Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is understandable that businesses would be enticed by AI because it can offer a means to reduce expenses. By utilizing AI-enabled software, companies can swiftly and efficiently process vast amounts of data, provide suggestions, and even make autonomous decisions.

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be highly advantageous for organizations, primarily saving them significant amounts of money and time, since achieving the same results by hiring people would demand considerably more resources. Nevertheless, it would be morally questionable to approach the AI predicament solely from a cost-cutting standpoint. One concern is that AI programs are incapable of entirely comprehending the consequences of their suggestions and strategies.

However, there is a possibility for substantial influence on the people working at businesses, especially those who could lose their jobs due to the growing prevalence of automation. This may have an adverse impact on the lives of those impacted.

It is essential to acknowledge that, in the current scenario, corporations hold the ultimate power in setting moral boundaries for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Companies have the conclusive control over the ethical norms of AI since they are the ones developing various AI-driven applications. Lately, we have witnessed an increase in the founding of ethics committees in businesses of all sizes, spanning from major players such as Google and Facebook to smaller startups, but most of the decision-making power still resides with private interests that prioritize their gains over public welfare.

Considering the complexity of the situation, the participation of a third party has become crucial. It is crucial for the public sector and the community to show an active interest in, and contribute to, the progression of AI applications for the betterment of society. This is particularly significant since most people will be impacted by the advancements in AI technology, and it is therefore essential that their views are heard and considered in the continued evolution of AI technology.

Governments and public entities must play an active role in making certain that the ethical aspects of AI development are resolved. Appropriate regulations must be devised to protect public interests and regulate special interests. Governments can thus preserve the welfare of the public.

The public must also comprehend the ethical ramifications of artificial intelligence (AI). In a time when individuals tend to be carefree about disclosing their private information, it is crucial that we as consumers are well-informed about all aspects of AI. Do you have the ability to describe how AI operates? What happens to our data following its processing by machines? Who can access this data, and where does it end up? These are all queries that necessitate careful thoughtfulness.

Facial recognition technology has the potential to surpass its current function of merely identifying an individual in an image and be used for far more invasive purposes, such as mass surveillance, without proper consideration of the ethical implications involved with the use of such advanced artificial intelligence software. It is crucial that we examine the potential consequences of such technology before it becomes widespread.

Drawbacks of the Artificial Intelligence Era

It is apparent that a challenge exists. Instead of asking “Can we achieve this with AI?” we should be asking “Should we pursue this?” and “If so, what is the appropriate way to do so?” This is because the question “Can we do this with AI?” is inadequate, given the recent advancements that are primarily driven by developers and businesses.

The increased emphasis on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has necessitated the development of guidelines, rules, and regulations to govern its commercial application. In order for this ethical framework to be efficacious, its primary objective must be to reduce the possibility of ethical dilemmas arising from the misappropriation of AI systems. To accomplish this goal, a group of experts assembled by the EU has identified several crucial factors that must be taken into account.

  • Human-led management:

    It is crucial that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not utilized to replace or limit human independence. It is essential that people continue to oversee automated systems and have the ability to assess whether the program’s outcomes are reasonable.
  • Robust protection:

    It is imperative that all AI systems are exceedingly secure and accurate, as they manage sensitive information and base decisions on this data. Thus, they should be able to withstand external pressures and rely on their own judgement.
  • Private data:

    Security impacts the collected data because it must ensure the confidentiality of all information.
  • Clarity:

    Even the most sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems must be understandable by humans. Businesses that utilize AI must ensure that their customers are able to comprehend the reasoning behind the program’s decisions.
  • Diversity and independence:

    It is significant that access to AI systems is available to all, regardless of age, gender, race, or any other factor. Furthermore, it is crucial that AI systems do not allow any of these traits to influence their decisions or outputs.
  • Societal benefit:

    To promote the advancement of positive and enduring societal change, it is appropriate for Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to pursue any objective. The group of experts emphasized the importance of all of these goals having a lasting impact, as well as factoring in ecological responsibility in AI solutions.
  • Responsibility:

    It is crucial that the actions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are auditable to prevent any undesirable consequences. Additionally, it is imperative that any unforeseen outcomes resulting from the use of AI are promptly reported once they are discovered.

Overcoming such a challenge will not be a simple task. While the recommended core principles seem like a great starting point, in a time where governments are struggling to keep up with the exponential growth of AI and companies are grappling to maintain control over such advancements, it appears more like a utopian ideal rather than a reality.

It is clear that the current ethical framework is not mature enough to be considered an ultimate solution to ethical concerns in the era of Artificial Intelligence. In fact, it resembles the simplified Asimov norms. Nonetheless, the framework and the author’s objective of ensuring that Artificial Intelligence is employed for the betterment of humanity and not solely for personal gain is a shared priority.

The road ahead is evidently fraught with potential hazards and uncertainties, and we must remain watchful to ensure that Artificial Intelligence (AI) fosters the upliftment of society rather than steering us towards the dystopian future as some have cautioned. To achieve this, we must keep ourselves aware of the advancements that are happening and be mindful of the potential consequences of AI.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs