East-West University

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

By: Eva Guadarrama

On May 17th, East-West university held an interesting discussion about the ethics of AI (artificial intelligence). The forum was hosted by the Artificial Intelligence class (taught by Dr. Julie Zhang) and Ethics and Society class (taught by Dr. Maria Polski).

Students from different majors came, and asked several questions about whether Artificial intelligence is useful, or whether an AI should be considered its own person once it’s developed human like qualities. Dr. Zhang and Dr. Injoo Kim gave examples of their scientific projects developing AI and explained how AI machines worked.

During this discussion one of the participants, Jesus Cruz, engineering major, stated “Rush to the next frontier. I heard we don’t walk toward disaster, we run toward it. During today’s discussion I heard the word slavery and it hit me. AI for mass production equals less human workers, and we are already experiencing it with Automotive Industries, self check out, MC Donald’s and Starbucks, but who is going to buy products that are mass produced from AIs If humans are not earning a living? I think we should be skeptic about what’s ahead.”  There were many people in the discussion who agreed with Jesus Cruz, that AI was not useful and would only take jobs from people. We already live in a world that is run by technology, so it’s possible that it could only make humans lazier.

The idea of AIs being subjected to slavery was questioned. If we were to put AIs to work, would their creator be paid, or would the AI? What if AI developed emotions and personalities, would we not take that into consideration? Some argued that an AI cannot feel genuine emotions, and are only capable of what the programmer tells them to do. One of the participants, Professor Robert Creel,  reminded the attendees of a fictional example in Star Trek the next generation where one of the AI characters was going on trial to see whether he was considered property or his own person. Jesus Cruz also stated “This reminds me of Jurassic park and bringing things to life without thinking about all the consequences, big or small. I wouldn’t want to wait until we get to that bridge to find out. It may sound like a bit of a concern but there are some things that I don’t know about in this world that scare me.”