OPINION22 April 2020

Time to think ethically about AI

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Camilla Ravazzolo, data and privacy counsel at the MRS, writes about reframing the discussion around artificial intelligence.


Stephen Hawking once said: “Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So, we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it. I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world. That it can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

The discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most fascinating philosophical debates of the past century. It has managed to evolve from the testing of a product – limited to engineers and hackers – to a business model analysis, carried out inside tech companies by engineers, salespeople and executives. And now it’s gone one stage ...