The ascension of AI has transformed the world as we know it, delivering groundbreaking innovations in various fields, including healthcare, finance, transportation and communication. Undoubtedly, AI has the potential to solve many of the world’s most pressing inefficiencies, however some experts believe that AI development is outpacing ethical considerations, hence an AI debate.
In the wake of these concerns, more than 100 leading experts penned an open letter, calling for a pause on the development of giant AI experiments. Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Jaan Tallinn and Andrew Yang, along with many renowned AI researchers and CEOs, are among the more than 27,000 signatures.
While the letter has been well received by some, others have criticized it, suggesting that it would merely act as a speed bump. Kamales Lardi, award-winning global tech leader and author of The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation, argues that the current issues in the tech industry necessitate a more comprehensive approach.
“It would not really achieve much unless the entire industry is forced to pause. Even so, six months is not a timeframe that would have much of an impact,” Lardi said.
There are a number of critical issues regarding AI in the long term. For one, AI systems have the potential to replace human labor in various sectors, which could lead to job displacement. With the advancement of AI also comes data privacy and worrisome surveillance increases. The looming threat of biased AI systems also raises ethical concerns.
These possibilities have sent the tech industry into a frenzy, as it grapples with the idea of halting innovation. Rather than pausing AI development, Lardi explained that a better course of action is to increase accountability to those involved in its development. By making sure there are consequences for exploitative use of AI, ethical standards can be upheld.
Particularly, Lardi explained the importance of educating regulators.
“Formalize the need to work hand-in-hand with technology thought leaders and experts to make sure the right skills and knowledge are applied in addressing the regulatory needs of the industry,” Lardi said. “Mandate basic certification for regulators to ensure they are able to set up intelligent governance for AI development without stifling innovation potential.”
Lardi emphasized data protection and privacy requirements, which are growing ethical concerns. By mandating transparency, companies developing AI systems would have to disclose how their systems operate and what they do with the data. Although this may not seem entirely feasible with the surge the industry has experienced, blockchain technology could be a potential solution.
“The challenges in AI with data provenance and transparency could be addressed with blockchain technology that offers these specific capabilities. The convergence of these top techs could result in powerful tech solutions that offer fast and sophisticated generative capabilities while still ensuring data is used in a transparent and monitored way,” Lardi said.
Additionally, it’s important to foster collaboration. By bringing together organizations and people with diverse expertise, AI development can be transformative while remaining ethical.
“Establish a consortium for AI to increase collaboration across the industry by building an ecosystem of key stakeholders, ensuring a range of people understand and are involved in the development of AI,” Lardi said. “Ensure an increase in diverse teams of people are involved in development and testing AI-based systems.”
As a whole, the untapped potential of AI is astounding. Aside from its ability to boost productivity and advance various industries, human-machine convergence is a plausible reality.
“Advancements in tech integrating with the human body are already rapidly developing (e.g., bio 3D printing, smart contact lenses, smart pills etc.). As a next stage, we will experience more convergence with tech, as we will be able to increase life expectancy, health and more with the support of new tech. How far we will take this convergence remains to be seen,” Lardi said.
The realization of these possibilities would have staggering ethical implications. As a result, it’s vital the tech industry takes the necessary steps now, before it’s too late.