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How to best use AI considering privacy and ethical aspects

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the greatest innovations of the 21st Century, but it doesn’t without drawbacks. One of the biggest fears related to AI is privacy and ethical concerns. If companies can develop truly powerful AIs, capable of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). AGI is simply the ability of AIs to learn any intellectual task that a human being is capable of, this is one of the biggest objectives of AI development at the moment. In this article we’re going to go over some of the privacy and ethical implications of developing super powerful AIs: Creating personal information One of the big privacy concerns related to AI is the creation of new sensitive information unknown to the affected consumers or employees. As companies feed current customer information into AI algorithms, they perform analysis and can create new pieces of information based on the previous information. This new information created is unknown to the person and it’s unclear whether that information will be considered property of the company or property of the person. This is a big grey area in terms of privacy that needs to be addressed.



AI Based Bias

Researchers have found error rates among AI products in IBM, Microsoft and Amazon, disproportionately when it comes to facial recognition related to darker skinned individuals. Many people would assume because a machine algorithm lacks emotion it would be incapable of discrimination but if the bias is directly coded into the AI’s algoritmn then the program will act in that manner. Timnit Gebru, a Microsoft research scientist and MIT computer scientist Joy Buolamwini co-authored a paper demonstrating that IBM and Microsoft facial recognition systems were much worse when it came to identifying darker-skinned individuals.

AI taking over jobs On the ethical side many people are worried that advanced AI will get rid of a lot of jobs that are currently being filled by human beings. Obviously, this can cause an issue because this will disturb many people’s incomes, which affects them and their dependents negatively. So the question becomes where should we draw the line between trying to be as efficient as possible and taking care of the country's citizens by providing them jobs. A simple example of this is call centers, where many times you don’t even speak to a real person over the interface.


Lack of Control One of the concerns of AI is once it gets to the point that it is capable of thinking for itself, will it pose a risk to humans. We’ve all seen movies like I Robot or Terminator where robots have gone on to pose a risk to human beings, so a valid question is “Are we tampering with something beyond our control?” While we don’t have anything as powerful as the machines in those movies, we have had a real world example of this. One real world example of AI acting on its own occurred during a Facebook experiment. Facebook created AI robots that would negotiate and make deals with one another. During this experiment the AIs decided it would be more effective to write and communicate in their own language, which was incomprehensible to humans. While this incident was small and had no significant impact, some argue that it shows that humans are already losing control over AI and this could lead to problems later on. Stephen Hawking is probably the most well known advocate about the dangers of artificial intelligence. He suggested that super smart software could spell the end of our species and lead to an apocalyptic scenario similar to the Matrix. One of the interesting things he mentioned is that while humans are limited to slow biological evolution, machines are able to change rapidly and reproduce quickly, meaning that we would likely be unable to compete and go extinct.

Another theory on the danger of AI comes from the fact that we may give orders to machines that we do not fully understand and this can lead to some issues due to the nature of how AI’s process information.



For more information on AI funded projects check out scale AI, Canada’s leading AI innovation hub. They provide funding for AI driven startups and projects and have received over $200 million for investment by the government of Canada. Some other notable AI innovation labs include MIT AI Lab and Google AI.


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