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FEATURE19 March 2018

Ethical dimension to AI

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AI Data analytics Features Impact Privacy Technology UK

The benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) need to be balanced with potentially problematical data use. Dr Michelle Goddard looks at the rules in place to help ensure ethics are part of the AI equation.

Artificial intelligence (AI) – with its complex software systems, allowing accelerated analysis and learning by machines at a much higher rate than humans – promises much in our digital and data-driven environment.  

Its impact is felt in all aspects of our lives, from smartphone digital assistants and fraud-detection tools, to product-recommendation services  and credit applications. AI is at the centre of not only recommendations that we receive, but – more critically – the decisions that are made about us. 

Exponential growth and access to personal and non-personal data is driving AI use across all sectors. In research, text-data mining and analysis – with developments in natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning models – aid the automation of data analysis, data collection and report publication. However, as AI permeates our economies and communities, the promised benefits from the technology need to be balanced against the possible harms; it must be appreciated and recognised that AI can ...