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Snitch Switch: Smart Assistants With “Moral AI” Could Call Police on Owners Who Break Law

Published: March 4, 2019
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Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com.

Call it Terminator meets the second-grade tattletale, but some “experts” have suggested that electronic home assistants could be programmed with moral artificial intelligence (AI) that could decide whether to report its owners to the authorities for breaking the law.

As the Daily Mail reports:

Academics at the University of Bergen, Norway, touted the idea at the ACM conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Society in Hawaii.

Marija Slavkovik, associate professor the department of information science and media studies, led the research.

Leon van der Torre and Beishui Liao, professors at the University of Luxembourg and Zhejiang University respectively, also took part.

Dr Slavkovik suggested that digital assistants should possess an ethical awareness that simultaneously represents both the owner and the authorities — or, in the case of a minor, their parents.    

An “ethical awareness” customized based on the owner — that could be interesting. One might imagine what an AI ethical awareness representing Bill or Hillary Clinton could be like. Would there be a pass for island jaunts with underage girls or hurling lamps and other objects in fits of rage? Would leftist moral AI (isn’t that an oxymoron?) apply different standards based on party affiliation, epidermal melanin content, genotype, and professed sex or sexual inclination? And, really, are these questions rhetorical?

Whatever the parameters, upon witnessing doubleplusungood activity, devices would “have an internal ‘discussion’ about suspect behaviour, weighing up conflicting demands between the law and personal freedoms, before arriving at the ‘best’ course of action,” the Mail tells us. My, what could possibly go wrong?

Much has already — philosophically. Aside from quoting a University of Cambridge professor who said that human interactions are messy, the Mail also struck a relativistic note and wrote that the “ethics of the culture the product is launched in” would have to be considered. So now there could be a pass for female genital mutilation in Somalia.

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