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Prof. James Cooper on the Gathering Pace of ‘AI for Social Good’

Drone

Everyone has heard the nightmare scenarios that might come with artificial intelligence (AI), writes California Western’s Prof. James Cooper in an op-ed published recently in the Taipei Times co-authored with futurist and legislator, Jason Hsu.

“Slaughterbots”— machines that combine AI, facial recognition, and drone technologies to create efficient killing machines were unveiled last year. AI and machine learning are also being used to predict who is likely to become sick and could be used by health insurance companies to deny coverage.

These examples are a good reminder of why we need to infuse AI with an ethical imperative, the authors continue.

“AI for social good” is the new mantra for this quickly evolving industry and it has come none too soon, they write. IBM helped introduce this new ethics-centric approach, but in the past few months, Google has been leading the AI-for-social-good charge on the heels of repairing its image after a series of public relations fiascoes.

While corporations are fundamentally vehicles to maximize wealth for their shareholders, ethics can actually be good for business. The corporate social responsibility movement, social choice options for investment companies, and human rights-friendly supply chains have all demonstrated that transnational corporations do not have to put profit above all.

AI and machine learning bring with them many opportunities to benefit humanity, but also pose significant risks. As “AI for social good” gathers pace, it is time to consider people above profit.

Companies could do well by doing good. A dystopian future could be averted. The machines they build and the software they code cannot promote ethics by themselves, so humans must develop rules for such advances.

Read Prof. James Cooper’s and Jason Hsu’s complete article here: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2018/12/14/2003706066/1