AI Ethics & Money

I haven’t thought about it too much, but I think this is a compelling take:

(This is in the context of Timnit Gebru being fired, but the effect would be much larger than that.)

[Obligatory “AI” context: AI currently means “machine learning applied at scale” and doesn’t have much to do with “intelligence” yet.]

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A related thread:

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Esthetics (or aesthetics as it is sometimes spelled) is rooted in the branch of philosophy that is directly related to the relationship between the senses and matters of beauty, art, and taste. However, in the beauty industry, esthetics refers directly to the health and beautification of the skin.

Is “AI Ethics” in the corporate sphere is a similarly-incongruous appropriation?

Interesting questions (as someone who is working in this new and trendy sector): Why is it suddenly trendy? What does it actually consist of?

Cynical hypotheses might be that “AI ethics” is largely a matter of ethics washing.

Standard go-to sources which should be somewhat removed from the monetary incentives:

But I don’t think either of these really engages seriously with the history of this nascent field.

From SEP:

The ethics of AI and robotics is a very young field within applied ethics, with significant dynamics, but few well-established issues and no authoritative overviews—though there is a promising outline (European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies 2018) and there are beginnings on societal impact (Floridi et al. 2018; Taddeo and Floridi 2018; S. Taylor et al. 2018; Walsh 2018; Bryson 2019; Gibert 2019; Whittlestone et al. 2019), and policy recommendations (AI HLEG 2019 [OIR]; IEEE 2019). So this article cannot merely reproduce what the community has achieved thus far, but must propose an ordering where little order exists.

In effect this seems to be saying that the history can’t be engaged with because there isn’t enough history there. Perhaps a way forward would be to look (again) at the relationship between ethics & aesthetics.*

As early as 1916, Wittgenstein states that ethics and aesthetics are one, that only through aesthetics and art can what is truly important in human life be shown.

*: An aesthetician: not to be confused with an Anesthetician.