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Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

The ethical challenges posed by thinking machines

On 20 June, members of the Fundació TIC Salut Social’s Office of Standards and Interoperability, attended the Ethics and Artificial Intelligence Day organized by Tertúlia Digital.

The day was divided into two parts, with the first consisting of the presentation of a technological report on Artificial Intelligence in Catalonia, given by Daniel Marco, director of SmartCatalonia, Ministry of Digital Policy and Public Administration and Inma Rodríguez, Manager of Market Intelligence, ACCIÓ, Department of Business and Knowledge.

One of the key concepts addressed in the report was the importance of data, since it is AI’s lifeblood.

Emphasis was placed on the major cities and hubs which are making a special effort to introduce AI. The report concludes that the United States (Boston, Silicon Valley and New York) and China (Beijing and Shenzhen) are currently the world leaders. Europe trails behind, with London in the lead.

It became clear in the first part of the day that the number of AI patents is on the rise every year, with the US and China responsible for 78% of existing patents.

There was a discussion as to the part AI will play in healthcare in the short, medium and long term.

It is estimated that in 2030 AI will contribute ​​14% ($15.7 billion) to global GDP, increasing productivity, while saving time and reducing manufacturing defects.

The second part of the day consisted of a round table on Ethics and Artificial Intelligence, with the participation of Carme Torras, research professor at the Barcelona Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (CSIC-UPC) and Karina Gibert, a researcher at the UPC’s Department of Statistics and Operations Research and a Professor at the FIB.

The following are some of the key points:

  • The participants discussed the concept of digital suicide, which consists of eliminating data which a user does not wish to be stored in an archive, thus respecting the individual and their wishes.
  • The importance of ethics was emphasized at all times, in terms of respect for the dignity of the individuals who interact with AI.
  • Ethics will grow in importance as the number of robots increases, from a robot which helps the elderly to get dressed to robots which engage in cleaning.

This is the new discipline known as “Roboethics”. The concept is a response to a series of new problems which need to be taken into account, such as decision making, affective factors, relationships and how to improve people’s wellbeing.

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