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The discussion over the ethics of AI is hotting up. And Pew have produced yet another report around this issue. This commentary comes from Stephen Downes in his indispensable OL Daily newsletter.

This Pew report is essentially a collection of responses from experts on a set of questions related to ethics and AI (you can find my contribution on page 2). The question asked was, "By 2030, will most of the AI systems being used by organizations of all sorts employ ethical principles focused primarily on the public good?" The short answer was "no", for a variety of reasons. That doesn't mean good won't be produced by AI, but rather, the salient observation that AI won't be (and probably can't be) optimized for good. Seth Finkelstein (page 4) draws a nice analogy: "Just substitute ‘the internet’ for ‘AI’ here – ‘Was the internet mostly used in ethical or questionable ways in the last decade?’ It was/will be used in many ways, and the net result ends up with both good and bad, according to various social forces."

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