European Parliament Study: The ethics of artificial intelligence: Issues and initiatives


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European Parliament Study: The ethics of artificial intelligence: Issues and initiatives (pdf):

"This report deals with the ethical implications and moral questions that arise from the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. It also reviews the guidelines and frameworks that countries and regions around the world have created to address them. It presents a comparison between the current main frameworks and the main ethical issues, and highlights gaps around mechanisms of fair benefit sharing; assigning of responsibility; exploitation of workers; energy demands in the context of environmental and climate changes; and more complex and less certain implications of AI, such as those regarding human relationships.

Chapter 1 introduces the scope of the report and defines key terms. The report draws on the European Commission's definition of AI as 'systems that display intelligent behaviour'. Other key terms defined in this chapter include intelligence and how this is used in the context of AI and intelligent robots (i.e. robots with an embedded AI), as well as defining machine learning, artificial neural networks and deep learning, before moving on to consider definitions of morality and ethics and how these relate to AI.

In Chapter 2 the report maps the main ethical dilemmas and moral questions associated with the deployment of AI. The report begins by outlining a number of potential benefits that could arise from AI as a context in which to situate ethical, social and legal considerations. Within the context of issues for society, the report considers the potential impacts of AI on the labour market, focusing on the likely impact on economic growth and productivity, the impact on the workforce, potential impacts on different demographics, including a worsening of the digital divide, and the consequences of deployment of AI on the workplace. The report considers the potential impact of AI on inequality and how the benefits of AI could be shared within society, as well as issues concerning the concentration of AI technology within large internet companies and political stability. Other societal issues addressed in this chapter include privacy, human rights and dignity, bias, and issues for democracy.

Chapter 2 moves on to consider the impact of AI on human psychology, raising questions about the impact of AI on relationships, as in the case of intelligent robots taking on human social roles, such as nursing. Human-robot relationships may also affect human-human relationships in as yet unanticipated ways. This section also considers the question of personhood, and whether AI systems should have moral agency."

See also: Overview (pdf)

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