Dr Nesibe Kantar – Professor Terrell Ward Bynum | Which Ethical Values Should Be Instilled into Artificial Intelligence?
About this episode
Technological and scientific advancements have always come with ethical and social consequences. This remains true today, as artificial intelligence is rapidly and radically changing the way we think about the world. Seven decades ago, while creating the field of cybernetics, scientist-philosopher Norbert Wiener first asked: Which ethical values and principles should be instilled into machines that learn and make decisions? Read More
He worried about a possible future in which machines would be able to make decisions and carry them out far faster than any human could monitor them. He also predicted that, without human intervention, they would carry out tasks in the quickest and most literal manner, without considering ethical implications. Finally, he believed that intelligent machines might make harmful decisions based on knowledge that we are not currently aware of. All of these issues are especially urgent today.
In two recent papers, Dr Nesibe Kantar and Professor Terrell Ward Bynum apply the concept of Flourishing Ethics to identify specific principles that could be embedded into artificial intelligence.
In the 1990s, the internet became widely used and communities around the world became much more interconnected. Suddenly, people in diverse cultures could affect each other’s day-to-day lives in unprecedented ways. The fact that certain behaviours might be considered morally acceptable in one culture and morally unacceptable in another became an urgent ethical issue.
Ethicists began to ask how we could solve these challenges, and whether a genuine ‘global ethics’ could be achieved. Flourishing Ethics emerged as a promising approach to deal with this complex issue.
Kantar and Bynum explain that Flourishing Ethics is not a single ethical theory, but rather a flexible approach that can include traditional Western values and also accommodate ethical ideas from other cultures. The approach assumes that all people in all cultures share a common human nature, which can provide a universal ethical foundation. Then, values important to specific cultures can be layered on top to account for humanity’s diverse ethical outlooks.
In their recent research, Kantar and Bynum used a Flourishing Ethics approach to identify 5 principles that are essential to human flourishing:
- Autonomy – often called the freedom to be in charge of one’s own life
- Participation in a supportive community
- Community-provided security, opportunities, knowledge and resources
- The prevailing of justice
- Respect – including self-respect and respect from others
These principles, they believe, could be used to guide and govern artificial intelligence technologies around the world.
Flourishing Ethics provides us with a framework to deal with ethical challenges created by information technology including artificial intelligence. It can serve as a comprehensive ethical foundation that draws on universals across communities worldwide.
For further information, you can connect with Dr Nesibe Kantar and Professor Terrell Ward Bynum at firstname.lastname@example.org
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