AI, ethics, and culture

The mission of the new MIT – IBM Watson AI Lab seems to assume that ethics are a form of applicable math, that they have natural laws, and can be understood and applied without undue complexity. The mission here

The collaboration aims to advance AI hardware, software, and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas; increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity; and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.

is followed by a note that there will be calls for proposals from those affiliated with either of the institutions, in these key areas:

  • AI algorithms: Developing advanced algorithms to expand capabilities in machine learning and reasoning. Researchers will create AI systems that move beyond specialized tasks to tackle more complex problems and benefit from robust, continuous learning. Researchers will invent new algorithms that can not only leverage big data when available, but also learn from limited data to augment human intelligence.
  • Physics of AI: Investigating new AI hardware materials, devices, and architectures that will support future analog computational approaches to AI model training and deployment, as well as the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. The latter involves using AI to help characterize and improve quantum devices, and researching the use of quantum computing to optimize and speed up machine-learning algorithms and other AI applications.
  • Application of AI to industries: Given its location in IBM Watson Health and IBM Security headquarters in Kendall Square, a global hub of biomedical innovation, the lab will develop new applications of AI for professional use, including fields such as health care and cybersecurity. The collaboration will explore the use of AI in areas such as the security and privacy of medical data, personalization of health care, image analysis, and the optimum treatment paths for specific patients.
  • Advancing shared prosperity through AI: The MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab will explore how AI can deliver economic and societal benefits to a broader range of people, nations, and enterprises. The lab will study the economic implications of AI and investigate how AI can improve prosperity and help individuals achieve more in their lives.

The last one is where they note that ethics lives, and it does not seem integral to the research in all areas.

Also to note, there is no nuanced or even truly noted inclusion on the difficulties of ethics, of cultural relativity, nor about the cultures both of the teams of creation, but where these advances will be put into the world.

And of course at the end, they note that a key aspect is commercialization.

Another example of enormous dollars being put to something which will fundamentally changes the ways in which humans and machines function in the world, without seeming to desire to understand how that will change the world, and what this means. The ‘delivery of … benefits’ sounds secondary to the creation of commercial enterprises and new technologies. The good will be an added benefit, if it comes, and the structure of the technology is not focused on beginning with clean data and understanding of sociological contexts in which it is going.  Engineering-heavy organizations, those who dictate the future of the 21st century.

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