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Learning the Hard Way with AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) can act as a crucial power for good if related regulations enable its potential to flourish while eliminating its downsides during its integration into our daily lives. As a consequence, we can feel its impact on both our personal and professional interactions stronger than ever.

AI is usually defined as an interactive, autonomous and self-learning agency, which makes it possible for computational artifacts to outperform human-beings in tasks that require human intelligence. Moreover, AI is also defined as the computational models or the architecture of the technology. While AI is underpinned by more and more data, it needs to resolve unique ethical challenges related to consent, privacy and ownership all of which are essential aspects of data ownership.

Since the 1960s, issues concerning delegation and responsibility have mostly been at the center of technological developments. Given the increasing use of Ai in various contexts ranging from healthcare to finance, the potential application of AI to profile users for customized advertising via means of capture users’ preferences as well as nudging their behavior may undermine the self-determination of human-beings.

As users rely on AI applications to resolve several tasks, these systems may come to a point where eventually they may discriminate against certain races when making decisions about granting parole. Robust procedures for human oversight are needed to minimize such unintended consequences.

Still, human oversight does not suffice when it comes to dealing with problems only after they occur. Techniques to explore AI are required to make users grasp the basic functions of AI and to collaborate with designers and developers to mitigate the risks of misuse. Such a collaborative work involves a distributed agency among many actors, including designers, developers, users, software, and hardware. Given this context of distributed agency, distributed responsibility allocates punishment or reward depending on individual intentions according to ethical frameworks. Yet, none of the existing ethical theories are taking distributed agency into account. It is crucial to distribute moral responsibility among designers, regulators, and users. In doing so, the model can function as preventing evil and fostering good, as it nudges all related agents to behave responsibly.

One of the major challenges to integrate AI into our daily lives is that it erases the factor of human self-determination. While an AI technology may not be necessarily detrimental, AI may also exert its influencing power beyond our control on the environment. The incorrect design of invisible AI may threaten our ability to keep our choices open.

Humanity had to learn a big lesson the hard way when it did not regulate the impact of the industrial revolution and failed to recognize the environmental impact of massive industrialization. After such a long time, there occurred even revolutions to establish sustainability frameworks.

Given the AI revolution, it is more crucial than ever to address questions about the values that should underpin the design, regulation, and use of AI in these societies. Only a collaborative effort by business, civil society and academia can unlock AI’s potential to foster human flourishing while respecting human dignity.

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Ayse Kok
Ayse completed her masters and doctorate degrees at both University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK). She participated in various projects in partnership with international organizations such as UN, NATO, and the EU. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Bosphorus University in her home town Turkey. Furthermore, she is the editor of several international journals, including those for Springer, Wiley and Elsevier Science. She attended various international conferences as a speaker and published over 100 articles in both peer-reviewed journals and academic books. Having published 3 books in the field of technology & policy, Ayse is a member of the IEEE Communications Society, member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Security & Privacy, member of the IEEE IoT Community and member of the IEEE Cybersecurity Community. She also acts as a policy analyst for Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research. Currently, she lives with her family in Silicon Valley where she worked as a researcher for companies like Facebook and Google.


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