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Huge A.I. Conference Wonders How “Ethical Conscience” Can Be Engineered Into The Living Image Of The Beast

Leading artificial-intelligence researchers gathered this week for the prestigious Neural Information Processing Systems conference have a new topic on their agenda. Alongside the usual cutting-edge research, panel discussions, and socializing: concern about AI’s power. The issue was crystallized in a keynote from Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford Tuesday. The conference, which drew nearly 8,000 researchers to Long Beach, California, is deeply technical, swirling in dense clouds of math and algorithms. Crawford’s good-humored talk featured nary an equation and took the form of an ethical wake-up call. She urged attendees to start considering, and finding ways to mitigate, accidental or intentional harms caused by their creations. “Amongst the very real excitement about what we can do there are also some really concerning problems arising,” Crawford said before warning the audience that more troubling errors are surely brewing behind closed doors, as companies and governments adopt machine learning in areas such as criminal justice, and finance. “The common examples I’m sharing today are just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. (READ MORE)


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