Home > Uncategorized > Tech industry self-regulates AI ethics in secret meetings

Tech industry self-regulates AI ethics in secret meetings

September 3, 2016

This morning I stumbled upon a New York Times article entitled How Tech Giants Are Devising Real Ethics for Artificial IntelligenceThe basic idea, and my enormously enraged reaction to that idea, is perfectly captured in this one line:

… the basic intention is clear: to ensure that A.I. research is focused on benefiting people, not hurting them, according to four people involved in the creation of the industry partnership who are not authorized to speak about it publicly.

So we have no window into understanding how insiders – unnamed, but coming from enormously powerful platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft – think about benefit versus harm, about who gets harmed and how you measure that, and so on.


That’s not good enough. This should be an open, public discussion.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Isn’t it basically impossible to keep AI in a bag anyway?


    • Joeli Bacsi
      September 3, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      First, hooray for Cathy. I also found the article disturbing and she expressed good reasons to feel that way.
      Second, I think George that you are too pessimistic. With atomic weapons or genomics or AI you can throw up your hands and cry “we’re doomed!” but if I look at atomic weapons in my three score and ten the hard diplomatic work has paid off … at least ’til now.


  2. September 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.


  3. September 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Another way to look at this is how things turned out in the Robocop movie. He had three simple directives at first: Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law.

    Then, everyone else got involved.



  4. September 3, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Well, hopefully what they are privately discussing is when and how to open the discussion to the public… 😉


  5. Adam Smith
    September 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”


  6. Guest2
    September 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I share in your outrage. This is like having a transparency policy that discloses only preapproved documents. Without spokespersons willing to be identified, we are left with suds from a whitewash. We don’t even know who WANTS us to believe the whitewash — which might be the whole point of the press story: “Stay calm, everyone, this situation is under control.”


  7. Guest2
    September 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    As Albert Schweitzer once said about whether he was an optimist or a pessimist, “My knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.” (Out of My Life, 240)


  8. September 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Very much a topic I have pondered for quite some time, glad to see Cathy articulating such.

    It was over a decade ago that the concept of “neurological sovereignty” was offered in a presentation at the NBIC conference (UCLA), in which the evermore aggressive and pervasive intrusion of advanced AI probing into every facet of human existence from which to extract commoditized, dynamic data templates as an instrument of fiduciary and quasi political valuation would become the new norm.

    And here we are . . . today.


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