The Opportunity and Responsibility to Shape AI for Society's Benefit

NNicholas August 11, 2023 9:57 AM

The debate on the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is ongoing. While some hail it as revolutionary, others warn about its potential dangers. With AI's increasing influence in society, it is crucial that everyone, not just technologists, actively participate in shaping its development and application.

AI: Subordinate to human influence

Let's clear a common misconception first: AI is not some all-powerful, self-teaching tech. Instead, as with any other technology, it is governed by the rules and constraints we humans build into its design. For example, consider ChatGPT, which was designed to refrain from providing specific opinions, especially on culturally-sensitive matters. So, it's important to understand that AI isn't above or beyond human influence, but a product of it.

The design choices made during AI development significantly determine its behavior. Consequently, developers have a huge responsibility to implement necessary checks and balances. Moreover, the process of setting these boundaries should be inclusive and transparent; it shouldn't be a closed-door affair. Ultimately, the goal is to create AI tools that respect and uphold ethical standards.

Community-driven decision making in AI

Just because AI can perform various tasks doesn't mean it should be employed everywhere. Decision-makers must consult affected communities and understand their needs and dreams before deciding on AI's implementation. For instance, when a mental health app tried using GPT-3 for counselling, they realized the community preferred human therapists. Thus, the choice to use AI should be driven by the people it is meant to serve.

AI operates by performing mathematical operations on existing data. If this data is biased or unrepresentative, the AI would undoubtedly perpetuate these biases. Therefore, ensuring data quality and inclusivity is essential. Additionally, accessibility to such technology should be a priority, so it doesn't become a tool that only serves a privileged few.

Everyone's role in directing AI's future

From technologists to policymakers to investors, everyone has a part to play in shaping AI. Policymakers can set guidelines for AI development and use, while investors can support human-centered AI systems. Public participation, awareness and advocacy can also lead to more equitable AI systems. It's high time we adopt a cross-sector, interdisciplinary approach to AI for more beneficial outcomes.

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