With the growth of Artificial Intelligence(AI) in the 21st century, the ethics associated with it grow in importance along with the growth in the technology. Typically, AI ethics is divided into Robo-ethics and Machine-ethics. Robo-ethics is a concern with the moral behavior of humans as they design and construct artificially intelligent beings, while Machine-ethics relates to the ethical conduct of artificial moral agents(AMAs). In the modern world today, the countries are stockpiling weapons, artificially intelligent robots and other AI driven machines. So, to prevent humanity from the ill-effects of artificial intelligence, these ethics were coined.

Robot Ethics or more popularly known as roboethics, is the morality of how humans interact, design, construct, use and treat robots. It considers how artificially intelligent beings(AIs) may be used to harm humans and how they may be used to benefit humans. It emphasizes on the fact that machines with artificial intelligence should prioritize human safety above everything else and keeping human morality in perspective.

Can AI be a threat to human dignity?

It was the first time in 1976 when a voice was raised against the potential ill-effects of an artificially developed being. Joseph Weizenbaum argued that AI should not be used to replace people in position that require respect and care, such as:

  • A customer service representative
  • A therapist
  • A soldier
  • A Police Officer
  • A Judge

Weizenbaum explains that we require authentic feelings of empathy from people in these positions. If machines replace them, they will feel alienated, devalued, and frustrated. However, there are voices in support of AI when it comes to the matter of partiality, as a machine would be impartial and fair.

Biases in AI System

The most widespread use of AI in today’s world is in the field of voice and facial recognition. Among many systems, some of them have real business implications and directly impact other people. A biased training set will result in a biased predictor. Bias can always creep into algorithms in many ways and it poses one of the biggest threats in AI. As a result, large companies such as IBM, Google, etc. have started researching and addressing bias.

Weaponization of Artificial Intelligence

As questioned in 1976 by Weizenbaum for not providing arms to robots, there stemmed disputes regarding the fact whether robots should be given some degree of autonomous functions.

There has been a recent outcry about the engineering of artificial intelligence weapons that have included ideas of a robot takeover of humanity. AI weapons present a type of danger far different from that of human-controlled weapons. Powerful nations have begun to fund programs to develop AI weapons.

If any major military power pushes ahead with the AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow“, are the words of a petition signed by Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and many MIT professors as additional supporters against AI Weaponry.

Machine Ethics or Machine Morality is the field of research concerned with designing of Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs), robots and artificially intelligent beings that are made to behave morally or as though moral. The sci-fi director Isaac Asimov considered the issue in the 1950s in his famous movie – I-Robot. It was here that he proposed his three fundamental laws of machine ethics. His work also suggests that no set of fixed laws can sufficiently anticipate all possible circumstances. In 2009, during an experiment at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, robots that were programmed to cooperate eventually learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resource.

Concluding, Artificial Intelligence is a necessary evil. Artificial Intelligence-based beings (friendly AIs) can be a gigantic leap for humans in technological development. It comes with a set of miraculous advantages. However, if fallen into the wrong hands, the destruction can be unimaginable and unstoppable. As quoted by Claude Shannon, “I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I’m rooting for the machines.”