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The Ethics of AI – dealing with difficult choices in a non-binary world

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I started working with user experience (UX) long before the term was even known. Over the past 40 years, I’ve encountered many issues that have disturbed me – from creating purposely addictive programs, sites, and apps, to the current zeitgeist for various design trends at the expense of basic usability. I have seen research that is faked, ignored, or twisted by internal company politics and by the cognitive bias of the design team. And I have seen countless dark patterns that suppress accessibility and diversity by promoting false beliefs and false security.

Whenever we say, “That’s not my problem,” or, “My company won’t let me do that,” we are handing over our ethical responsibility to someone else – for better or for worse. Do innocent decisions evolve so that they promote racism or gender discrimination through inadvertent cognitive bias or unwitting apathy? Far too often they do.

We, as technologists, hold incredible power to shape the things to come. I would like to share my thoughts with you so you can use this power to truly build a better world for those who come after us!

Published in: Technology
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The Ethics of AI – dealing with difficult choices in a non-binary world

  1. 1. The Ethics of AI Dealing with difficult choices in a non-binary world Eric Reiss @elreiss ML Conference June 18, 2019 Munich, Germany
  2. 2. Disclaimer Absolutely no attempt has been made to make this presentation politically correct. No animals were harmed during the production of this PowerPoint (even though I tried). Made entirely of recycled electrons.
  3. 3. Disclaimer #2 If you’ve heard this all before, my apologies. If you’ve ignored these issues, step up and take a stand.
  4. 4. What are “ethics”? What are “morals”?
  5. 5. “Morals” “Ethics” “The beliefs I have accepted.” “How I practice these beliefs.”
  6. 6. “Thou shalt not kill.”
  7. 7. Internal External
  8. 8. And who is teaching AI its moral values?
  9. 9. Johann and his iPhone
  10. 10. Johann and the lost letter
  11. 11. Johann, Albert, and Clara (and Leo)
  12. 12. Clara 1983 - 2019
  13. 13. • It’s not just “1” and “0” • Or right and wrong • Or “yes” and “no” • Or “black” and “white” The world is grey and difficult. Learn to live with it. The world isn’t binary
  14. 14. “Do no evil” “Make money”
  15. 15. “Make money” “Do no evil”
  16. 16. “Make money” “Keep the government off our back”
  17. 17. Eric, stop bashing Google!
  18. 18. Scarcity Social validation Fear of loss
  19. 19. The Oppenheimer Effect
  20. 20. “Morals” “Ethics” “The beliefs I have accepted.” “How I practice these beliefs.”
  21. 21. Small compromises can add up to big issues!
  22. 22. http://moralmachine.mit.edu/
  23. 23. • Privacy • Security • Intellectual property rights plus • Diversity • Inclusion • Harassment Key ethical issues today
  24. 24. • Is this right? • Is this respectful? • Is this responsible? • Is this fair? • Is this legal? Questions we need to ask
  25. 25. 1. Manipulating the research 2. Faking the content 3. Promoting addiction 4. Dark patterns 5. Faking communities of thought 6. Offensive AI 7. AI theatre Seven deadly sins
  26. 26. • Monitor your database (more in a moment) • Watch out for personal or political agendas • Think about your own moral and ethical responsibility • Call bullshit when you see it! What you can do
  27. 27. • Being principled is challenging • There are consequences to your actions • Be gentle if you can • The greater the ethical violation, the harder you need to push • Sometimes, it’s good to get fired Some thoughts on “calling bullshit”
  28. 28. Garbage in, garbage out
  29. 29. Machine: “Squirrel” = “Rooster”
  30. 30. • Validate your assumptions • Test your prototypes, apps, and existing sites with real users • Mine the existing data for genuine insights • Check for cultural bias – Racist, religious, and sexist discrimination • Train your algorithm with unbiased data • Monitor your AI bot regularly What you can do
  31. 31. Clive K. Lavery | “Being a Digital Do-gooder”| 27 September, 2016
  32. 32. Clive K. Lavery | “Being a Digital Do-gooder”| 27 September, 2016
  33. 33. "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Ken Olsen Founder, Digital Equipment Corp. 1977 But that was then…
  34. 34. TRS-80 1977
  35. 35. Apple II 1977
  36. 36. With power comes responsibility…
  37. 37. The Copenhagen Letter Today, over 5,400 people have signed. These aren’t merely Facebook likes. These signatures represent a commitment.
  38. 38. https://copenhagenletter.org/ Join us!
  39. 39. There really is only one question you need to ask yourself: Would I want my family to use what I am making?
  40. 40. Danke!
  41. 41. The FatDUX Group ApS Strandøre 15 2100 Copenhagen Denmark Office: (+45) 39 29 07 07 Mobil: (+45) 20 12 88 44 Twitter: @elreiss er@fatdux.com www.fatdux.com Eric Reiss can (usually) be found at:

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