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What Are the Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the most powerful technologies that would drive the world toward an advanced future. The general assumption about AI and ML paints a picture of robots that could act like humans and self-driving cars. At the same time, the controversies around AI and ML have also gained significant popularity. Therefore, ethics in artificial intelligence are essential for establishing a balance between the good and bad of AI. Businesses rely on AI to reduce human error, automation of repetitive tasks, and faster execution of internal processes. It has offered promising improvements in productivity for businesses, and innovation in AI and ML presents better ways to improve performance. 

At the same time, businesses must ensure that the technology is used appropriately with better security and limited risks. What are the importance of ethics in AI and the important pillars of ethical AI? How will ethical AI encourage the adoption of AI, and what are the challenges for ethical AI? Let us find the answers to these questions with a detailed introduction to ethics of AI.

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Background of Artificial Intelligence 

Discussions about ethics have been one of the most prominent aspects of development of human civilization. Research on the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics is essential for avoiding the consequences of AI misuse. Have you seen the movie “I Robot” or the “Terminator” movie franchise? Many other films and television shows have depicted different possible scenarios in which AI and robots could harm humanity. On the contrary, Asimov’s Laws of Robotics suggest that robots or AI should never harm humanity or cause harm due to inaction. 

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that helps in replicating human intelligence in computers through complex algorithms. Machines powered by AI algorithms could perform complicated tasks with better efficiency alongside tasks that require decision-making abilities and logic. 

However, the potential of AI also draws attention to importance of ethics in artificial intelligence as it can be used for malicious acts. The questions about ethical AI reflect on the possibilities of AI replacing human workers and similar issues popularized in the media. On the other hand, it is important to look for other pressing concerns, such as transparency, lack of regulations, and data longevity. 

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What are the Ethical Concerns in AI?

The ideal approach to learning about the different types of ethics in AI would involve a review of the ethical issues in AI. Discussions about the ethical issues of AI refer to the problems emerging in interactions between humanity and AI. On top of it, you should also know how AI could influence the future of consumers. The five prominent areas for ethical concerns in AI include consumer privacy, bias, surveillance, automation, and transparency. Let us learn more about the ethical concerns or challenges in AI to understand the foundation of ethics in AI. 

The rapid pace of growth in AI technology has created new concerns in the form of a lack of transparency regarding the working mechanisms of AI. In addition, ethics in AI also focus on the lack of traceability for actions of AI on different software. Traceability serves as an important security risk for businesses and individual users. Multiple programs have integrated AI for collecting data and improving customer experiences. Imagine an unauthorized AI program gaining access to data on a computer it should not have accessed in the first place. 

You can find answers to “Why are ethics important in AI?” with respect to traceability with two specific actions. First of all, it is important to ensure that AI is explainable. On the other hand, it should also help other stakeholders in understanding the working mechanisms of AI.    

The rising popularity of AI has raised questions about the ways in which it could replace the jobs of humans. However, AI would generate more jobs than it would replace. At the same time, it is important to consider the types of jobs AI would replace, such as data entry and assembly jobs. Therefore, businesses must ensure upskilling and reskilling of their workforce to help them adapt to changes due to AI. Either way, artificial intelligence would still take away the jobs of millions of people.

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One of the common aspects in the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics that remains unnoticed is consumer privacy. It is a major concern for experts as data collected by AI and for AI could persist far longer than the companies using the data. Major tech companies, businesses, and governments collect consumer data irrespective of privacy rights. What are the ethical concerns of AI with respect to consumer privacy? The notable answers apart from data persistence include data repurposing and data spillover. 

Data repurposing refers to the use of data originally collected for one purpose for another purpose without the knowledge of an individual. On the other hand, data spillover implies a collection of data about other individuals without their consent through data collected from a single individual with their consent. 

The most prominent ethical issue with artificial intelligence is the possibility of bias and discrimination. One of the most common misconceptions about AI is that it cannot be biased as it is a machine. However, AI could be unbiased only when the data used for training is unbiased. The review of different types of ethics in AI points to the inaccuracies in data collected by businesses from data warehouses. 

You can find two distinct types of bias in AI: data bias and societal bias. Data bias refers to the bias or flaws in training data used for creating AI, which leads to introduction of same biases in the resulting AI program. Societal bias refers to the biases in society that are programmed into AI due to programmer oversight. On the other hand, AI could also learn societal bias through independent data collection. 

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Who are the Stakeholders in Ethical AI?

The development of ethical principles to create responsible AI and use it in responsible ways would need the efforts of multiple stakeholders. The stakeholders must recognize the importance of ethics in artificial intelligence and evaluate the impact of AI on social, political, and economic issues. Such types of assessment could help in determining the possibilities for ethical and harmonious coexistence of machines and humans. Here is an overview of the role of each stakeholder in safeguarding ethics in artificial intelligence. 

The government is one of the most crucial stakeholders in implementation of responsible AI. Different committees and agencies in a government could help in facilitating a clear set of definitions for AI ethics. For example, the National Science and Technology Council came up with a report titled “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence” in 2016. It provides a clear outline of AI alongside its effect on public outreach, security, economy, regulation, and governance. 

Another important group of stakeholders responsible for implementation of ethical AI includes researchers. Professors and researchers can provide an explanation for “Why are ethics important in AI?” with evidence. Academics work on research theory-based statistics alongside generating ideas for supporting businesses, non-profit organizations, and governments in implementing ethical AI.

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Non-profit organizations could play a crucial role in ensuring ethical implementation of AI. For example, some non-profit organizations could support different groups in achieving representation within the domain of AI. 

Decision makers at big tech companies such as Google and businesses in different sectors such as healthcare, banking, and consulting should also pay attention to ethical AI. Big companies should prepare AI codes of conduct and ethics teams, which would create standards that other companies could follow for implementing AI. 

Independent global agencies such as the World Bank and the United Nations must also take the responsibility of implementing ethical AI. The role of such agencies in ensuring effective implementation of ethics of artificial intelligence is focused on raising awareness. For example, 193 member states of UNESCO adopted a global agreement for defining the Ethics of AI to promote dignity and human rights in the use of AI. 

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What are the Important Pillars of Ethical AI?

The rising adoption of AI across different industries also creates questions about the ways in which Chief Information officers could ensure alignment with responsible and ethical AI. Artificial intelligence could offer support for the future of technological advancements. However, business leaders and stakeholders must focus on the significance of the following pillars of ethical AI. 

Most people ask questions about maintaining ethics in artificial intelligence and robotics without realizing that the simplest solution is accountability. Artificial intelligence could help businesses ensure faster execution of internal processes alongside facilitating faster workflows. 

On the other hand, accountability is an important requirement to trust the AI systems. Without accountability, AI use cases are more likely to create ethical concerns. Therefore, business leaders should consistently monitor AI systems to evaluate success rates. At the same time, leaders should also check whether AI systems ensure correct implementation and operations of business processes. 

The next crucial highlight of ethical AI points at explainability, which is an important requirement for traceability of AI. Artificial intelligence and machine learning models should be explainable not only to developers and programmers but also to other stakeholders. Explainable AI describes one of the types of ethics in AI as it helps ensure that everyone using AI knows what it can do. 

Without the flexibility to explain how AI works to every member of the organization, the implementation of AI could lead to confusion. You can assume the examples of AI use cases in healthcare and banking to understand the importance of explainability. The predictions by AI and ML models should be explainable to avoid inherent bias and ensure that AI delivers relevant results. 

Another important requirement for ensuring effective implementation of ethical AI is protection of customer data and privacy. It is an important requirement in data-sensitive business processes or industries such as banking and healthcare. Therefore, it is important to ensure that AI systems follow the necessary precautions and standards for safeguarding sensitive data of consumers and businesses. Without privacy, businesses are less likely to earn the trust of customers. Therefore, ethical safeguards in AI must also emphasize privacy as one of the pillars for responsible use of AI.

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The importance of ethics in artificial intelligence is also visible in the assurance of security. Organizations should ensure protection for AI models against cyber-attacks to protect valuable data of customers. Most of the businesses adopting AI assume security as one of the top strategic priorities for minimizing risks and creating responsible AI.

The most crucial pillar for ethical AI is governance. It points to the evaluation of answers to “Why are ethics important in AI?” and a review of the AI lifecycle. Governance involves monitoring internal processes, systems, policies, and staff for monitoring the AI lifecycle. Businesses should establish accurate governance mechanisms or guidelines that provide clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders working with AI. 

In addition, it also focuses on developing guidelines for improvement of performance and credibility of AI in the AI lifecycle. Most important of all, governance also focuses on uniform training and awareness of all stakeholders in the AI lifecycle for developing responsible AI.

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Bottom Line

The introduction to ethics in AI focuses on different ways in which ethics can provide value advantages for the domain of AI. It is important to note that AI is a new technology, and people, as well as businesses, have many doubts regarding its potential. AI promises multiple improvements on a massive scale in different industries and business processes. However, it also presents the possibility of certain ethical concerns due to bias, lack of transparency, and problems with consumer privacy. 

Therefore, businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, researchers, and users have to invest their efforts in promoting ethical artificial intelligence. In addition, it is also important to find insights into the potential impact of AI ethics on the future of technology and business. Learn more about the fundamentals of ethical AI and the principles for implementation of responsible AI with credible training resources.   

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