Letting Sleeping Watchdogs Lie . . .

I’m working on a larger piece on #artificalintelligence, testing and ethics, but I had to say something about the really depressing panel on #ethics and #AI I attended at the Cyber Security and Cloud Exp in London today. The conference in general (Cyber Security & Cloud Expo | Technology Conference | London (cybersecuritycloudexpo.com) was a great event and really well done, but I heard two comments from the “Keeping it Ethical in AI” panel that left my mouth hanging open.

The first comment was about the repercussions for companies that are found to be operating unethically with their #artificalintelligence systems which paraphrased amounts to, “it’s better to engage in dialogue about doing better rather than naming and shaming companies”. Eh? These “watchdog” groups have basically no teeth to begin with and the only real one they have is the ability to inform and drive public opinion about bad actors. What else are they going to do?

The second comment really blew me away, at the breath of both the naiveite of where we actually ARE as an industry with AI usage, and the carelessness of the forward-looking view. “Technology advancement should not be inhibited by our inability to keep up with it ethically…” Wow. And this was a panel of people tasked with ensuring AI is used ethically!

There are very serious people like Timnit Gebru and Harry Collins waving red flags around AI about algorithmic bias and the limitations of our technology, and now is not the time to be capitulating before we’ve even started. The real concern here is that the AI horse has already left the ethical barn and these folks are describing the grass! The use of AI in fintech is forecast to grow from ~$14.7b to ~$42b by 2027, so let’s not pretend it’s not already pervasive in our lives.

Artificial Intelligence in Fintech Market: Global Analysis and Growth Forecast to 2027

Anyway, rant over, but if this the level of thinking with the people tasked with looking out for our ethical interests, we might be worse off than I initially though…

One thought on “Letting Sleeping Watchdogs Lie . . .

  1. I would wager that both those comments were made by people with senior corporate executive positions rather than by anyone with a connection to the real world, or the human race.

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