Responsibility & Safety – A Look at Fair Principles for Ethical AI
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more powerful and integrated in our lives, it’s crucial to consider how it is used and deployed. What values should guide AI? Whose values should they be? And how should they be selected? These questions highlight the importance of principles in AI decision-making.
Principles shape our lives and help us understand what’s right and wrong. Similarly, principles guide AI in making decisions that involve trade-offs, such as choosing between productivity and helping those in need.
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers drew inspiration from philosophy to identify fair principles for AI. They explored the concept of the “veil of ignorance,” which helps determine fair principles for group decisions.
The veil of ignorance approach encourages people to make fair decisions that benefit everyone, regardless of their own self-interest. Researchers found that participants were more likely to choose an AI that helped those who were disadvantaged when they reasoned behind the veil of ignorance. This valuable insight can be used to establish fair principles for AI assistants.
The veil of ignorance is a method of making decisions when there are diverse opinions in a group. It allows us to consider decisions from a less self-interested perspective. It has been used in various fields to reach agreement on contentious issues.
Aligning AI with human values is a major goal for researchers. However, there is no consensus on a single set of human values to govern AI. People have diverse backgrounds, resources, and beliefs. So how do we select principles for AI given these differences?
The veil of ignorance provides a potential solution. By withholding information about one’s own position, people are more likely to choose principles that are fair to everyone involved. The study conducted experiments to test the effects of the veil of ignorance on AI principles.
In these experiments, participants played a game with AI assistance. Some participants were aware of their position while others weren’t. Those who didn’t know their position consistently preferred a principle that prioritized helping the disadvantaged. Participants who knew their position were more likely to choose a principle that benefited them personally.
Participants who didn’t know their position voiced concerns about fairness and believed it was right for the AI to help those who were worse off. This supports the idea that the veil of ignorance encourages fairness in decision-making.
Furthermore, when participants were asked if they would make the same choice knowing they would be in a different position, those who made choices without knowing their position were more likely to stand by their chosen principle, even if it no longer benefited them directly. This demonstrates the continued influence of the veil of ignorance in promoting fairness.
While the results of this study may not apply to all AI domains, the veil of ignorance can still inform principle selection and ensure fairness. Extensive research and diverse inputs are necessary to build AI systems that benefit everyone.
In conclusion, fair principles for AI are crucial. The veil of ignorance offers a valuable approach to selecting these principles. By considering perspectives outside of our own self-interest, we can build AI systems that are fair to all.