Designing a Charter for Navigating the Evolving Ethics of AI

Is ethical AI the future? Explore global regulations and industry moves toward responsible AI development and application.

Newel Rice, Senior Solutions Architect, Nortal

May 13, 2024

4 Min Read
digital abstract of a hand touching scales of justice
Artemis Diana via Alamy Stock

The transformative impact of artificial intelligence across sectors has underscored the necessity for ethical guidance and regulatory oversight to manage its potential and risks effectively.  

This attention is a necessary part of the maturing of AI, but no matter how much regulation and oversight we craft, it is participation on everyone’s part that will make this happen. Like the internet’s irreversible effect on our world, AI’s influence is poised to be equally as profound.  

The Growing Imperative for Ethical AI Development 

Recent developments underscore the urgency of addressing AI's ethical challenges. The EU’s recently-signed AI law designed to mitigate harm in high-risk areas like healthcare and education, sets the stage for a broader regulatory landscape. Similarly, President Biden's Executive Order in October 2023 was a proactive step by the US toward ensuring safe, secure, and trustworthy AI, setting the stage for discussion on the broader regulatory landscape.

These evolving regulatory approaches highlight the need for “high-risk” AI systems to adhere to strict rules, including risk-mitigation systems and human oversight. As we chart this course, we must draw upon existing frameworks like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to guide the development of ethical AI regulations that uphold fundamental human rights and dignity.  

Related:AI Isn’t Fully Explainable or Ethical (That’s our Challenge)

A Glimpse Into Industry Initiatives 

Across the AI ecosystem, organizations are grappling with the imperative for ethical AI development and implementation. In fact, the majority of US employees are anxious about AI, according to recent data from EY. With this in mind, it’s critical that leadership deeply understands AI’s far-reaching implications, and that it is committed to investing in its ethical and responsible application. This commitment should be woven into the very fabric of organizational culture, driven by a shared moral compass that transcends mere compliance. 

In recent conversations with my colleagues in the industry, Joe Bluechel, CEO of Boundree, and Manish Kumar, chief product officer of Atgeir Solutions, one approach we were seeing organizations embrace is the “responsible AI lifecycle” framework. That ensures ethical AI development at every stage, from evaluating business hypotheses against ethical principles to monitoring deployed models for drifts in ethical standards. One often overlooked idea of this, however, is the sentiment around this being a “check in the box,” initiative. Continuous improvement needs to happen. This could be done through feedback loops, underscoring a commitment to privacy, transparency, and ethical compliance. 

Related:Should There Be Enforceable Ethics Regulations on Generative AI?

Beyond frameworks, ethical considerations are being embedded into the core software development processes. During the design and architecture phases, user stories and acceptance criteria now explicitly address ethical concerns, akin to the established practice of incorporating security frameworks. 

Creating Transparency and Accountability in AI 

As AI's influence grows, fostering transparency and accountability is crucial. Collaborative leadership from organizations, policymakers, and industry leaders is essential to driving tangible actions that make ethical AI a reality. This includes ongoing analysis of potential ethical challenges arising from emerging AI technologies, relentless advocacy for preparedness, and the promotion of continuous ethical education and awareness-building initiatives. 

Inclusive design principles, team diversity, and robust measures against inherent biases are also critical components in the pursuit of equitable and just AI solutions that benefit all segments of society. However, as AI continues its rapid evolution, new questions and complexities emerge on the horizon: 

  • How will we navigate the borderless nature of AI? 

Related:Is AI Bias Artificial Intelligence’s Fatal Flaw?

  • Can we discover a “universally preferred behavior” for AI? 

  • How can we draft, ratify and amend a “constitution” for AI? 

  • How can we address the challenge of regulating those unwilling to participate in the regulatory frameworks?  

  • How can we instill multifaceted moral concepts such as “honor” in AI, transcending the more singular focus on fairness and exclusivity? 

The Path Forward  

Undoubtedly, the path forward is paved with continuous dialogue and collaboration among AI developers, policymakers, and industry leaders. By working together, we can strive for an ethical, responsible, and socially beneficial AI advancement that upholds the highest standards of human rights and moral principles. 

As AI matures, it is incumbent upon us to navigate its complexities with wisdom, foresight, and a steadfast commitment to ethical development. Only through collective effort can we harness AI's immense potential while mitigating its risks, ensuring a future where technological progress aligns with our shared values and aspirations for a better world. 

About the Author(s)

Newel Rice

Senior Solutions Architect, Nortal

Newel Rice, Senior Solutions Architect at Nortal, specializes in advanced analytics, modern data pipeline architectures, and the development of cross-cloud, multi-region hybrid solutions. 

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