Ethical AI: Is it possible?

Ethical AI: Is it possible?

On September 10th, leading academics, developers, lawyers and government figures will come together for a day-long conference, providing a cross-disciplinary investigation of the ethical challenges around AI, what needs to be done and how it can be achieved.

The chorus of cautionary voices around unchecked AI is growing louder, with activists, researchers and journalists voicing concerns over biased, deceptive and malicious applications. These are not the ravings of people who have seen too many Terminator films, wildly predicting the apocalypse in 100 years. Bad AI is a problem today. Respected academics such as Cathy O’Neil have observed how existing human bias in police forces’ data sets is being intensified as a result of machine learning. We are witnessing the rise of AI forgeries and artificially-created fake content, making it harder to know what is real and what is not real online. Automated weaponry is being developed that could cause destruction on a scale never before seen.

You’ll join more than 100 of the foremost minds, with speakers exploring topics such as the need for transparency in machine learning, the potential for social bias in AI, and everything we must do to balance regulation with innovation and ensure we safely harness the opportunities that AI is creating — whether that be in transportation, farming, medicine, finance or national security.

The companies building this technology are responding to the concerns. Everyone from Google to the startups are introducing ethical frameworks designed to ensure their systems create positive outcomes. But do they go far enough? Will commercial concerns trump those of society, leading to what Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, described as “a commercial race to the bottom”? Is regulation the answer? We look forward to finding out.

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