The Social Contract for AI

06/15/2020
by   Mirka Snyder Caron, et al.
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Like any technology, AI systems come with inherent risks and potential benefits. It comes with potential disruption of established norms and methods of work, societal impacts and externalities. One may think of the adoption of technology as a form of social contract, which may evolve or fluctuate in time, scale, and impact. It is important to keep in mind that for AI, meeting the expectations of this social contract is critical, because recklessly driving the adoption and implementation of unsafe, irresponsible, or unethical AI systems may trigger serious backlash against industry and academia involved which could take decades to resolve, if not actually seriously harm society. For the purpose of this paper, we consider that a social contract arises when there is sufficient consensus within society to adopt and implement this new technology. As such, to enable a social contract to arise for the adoption and implementation of AI, developing: 1) A socially accepted purpose, through 2) A safe and responsible method, with 3) A socially aware level of risk involved, for 4) A socially beneficial outcome, is key.

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