Artificial intelligence and ethics

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As robotics professionals, we evaluate technological development positively. Innovations make our lives easier. Just think of washing machines, cars, or airplanes. What’s more, they also result in much greater prosperity. And thanks to the various drugs and medical innovations, we can expect a healthier and longer lives. Nevertheless, every scientific result has negative effects. Therefore, we examine artificial intelligence research for the purpose of ethics.

Right and wrong table as illustration for blog "Artificial intelligence and ethics.
Picture by Tumisu on Pixabay

Ethical artificial intelligence

On the one hand, ethics is lifestyle, and on the other hand, a branch of philosophy. It tries to find the answer to the following question: In which case is an action or person considered to be good or valuable?

When are the AI developments nowadays ethical and when aren’t they?

Let’s have a look at the ethical issues that arise about artificial intelligence. The purpose of this blog post is to prove that with responsibility and conscience, AI is a useful and valuable tool for humanity.

Do robots take away jobs?

Many people ask us this question at our events. However, automation does not take away, but takes back certain tasks from people. Only monotonous, repetitive routine tasks can be carried out by algorithms. These jobs are also called “machine” jobs. Just think of it the saying, “he works like a machine / idiot.” Moreover, these kinds of jobs are generally badly paid. Robots will definitely take these jobs away.

In return, the same technology also creates lots of new job opportunities. They are often even more exciting and diversified. At the same time, governments will have a great responsibility to organize retraining programs for the triggered workforce. Anyone who does this successfully will have the opportunity to find a better paid, more creative job.

Will people have too much or too little free time?

During the 20th century, two writers, Alvin Toffler and Arthur C. Clark, also expressed their fear that humanity would soon be forced to face boredom and otiosity. They predicted that by 2000 and 2001, there would have been far fewer working hours due to technological developments.

These predictions haven’t come true, so far. I don’t think machines affect the number of working hours. With more advanced tools, however, we can achieve greater efficiency and better quality.

Can personal rights be compromised?

In his work Computer Power and Human Reason (Weizenbaum, 1976), Weizenbaum, the creator of the ELIZA program, addressed the question of how AI will affect society. He fears that these technologies provide opportunities to eavesdropping and observation.

Unfortunately, this fear is not baseless. At the same time, EU legislators have recognized this problem. They focus on stricter regulation of AI.

We hope that preventive legislation will already be able to prevent the violation of personality rights.

Robot application in warfare?

Also, robotic warfare is worrying. More and more countries are developing robots for military use. This includes drones, combat robots and intelligent ammunition. Some scientists say that all of this may lead to a new arms race.

Combat robots are often vehicles with weapons. But they not always use weapons automatically. By certain robots, only human staff can use the weapons of robots. Others are partially or fully automated. There is also a system in which the robot controls the use of human use of weapons. You can read more about these topic and the ethical issues in the  article of Béla Koleszár, published in Hadmérnök.

The international Day of Living Together in Peace

16 May is the International Day of Living Together in Peace. In this spirit, the activists of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots decided to publish the report of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch in Hungarian as well. More on this: Qubit.hu. Activists are fighting the military use of artificial intelligence.

One of the main principles of Netlife Robotics is that we don’t start a project in arms industry or in military. We don’t develop robots for war purposes.

Will the success of artificial intelligence and robotics lead to the end of humanity?

Some people fear that one day technology will reach a development level in which it will be already able to make independent decisions. And then they turn against the humanity, subjugate, or liquidate us. The theory has a great literary tradition. Besides Mary Shelley and Karol Capek, it appears also in sci-fi movies.

At the same time, it should not be forgotten that Far Eastern cultures relate to robots in totally different way. There, the robot is the savior of mankind, the faithful friend of the people.

In my opinion, this question is even more human imagination, which is an excellent basis for sci-fi literature.

As a conclusion – ethics in artificial intelligence

As we see, many fears of artificial intelligence are baseless. Some are rather work of imagination and others are exaggerated.

However, strict regulation is needed against the deployment of tactical robots and in the protection of personality rights.

In my view, science isn’t bad. People are those who often use its achievements in a bad way, irresponsibly. Algorithms are already present in our everyday lives. Moreover, in certain areas of our lives, we blindly entrust them. Let’s think, for example, of traffic lights, self-driving subway trains or banking apps. We don’t have any doubts about these. Even in this pandemic situation, digital devices have saved many jobs. The role of digitization and robotics will be much greater after the pandemic.

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