After meeting Anita Sarkeesian, I questioned if I should leave the Fourth Annual International Symposium of Digital Ethics on a high not or visit the next concurrent sessions. Would they be as insightful and educational? I put my thoughts aside and entered Beane Hall to listen to the Concurrent Session moderated by my professor Seung-Chul Yoo. The three speakers were: Thorsten Busch from Concorida University, Haewon Chung from University of Ottawa and James H. Moor from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Busch talked about Digital Business Ethics in the Videogame Industry. To be honest, I had a hard time following him and he took up a lot of time which affected the two other speakers. Haewon Chung spoke about crowdscience and it’s purpose. Crowdscience uses crowdsourcing as scientific research. She explained that crowdsourcing is “the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call”. Wikipedia is an example of crowdsourcing. She talked about certain sites that are used in order to generate information from the public in order to help scientific research, such as figuring out protein structures in order to help discover new health issues. It was fascinating to learn how science is working with people in order to make the world a better place.
The key speech that I learned so much from was James H. Moor’s speech on The Ethics of AI. AI is brought up in a lot of science fiction movies but seeing how it works in the real world was very intriguing. Professor Moor explained that AI goes through waves. It was a big topic in the 1950’s-1960’s but died down since the 1970’s. Now, AI is having a huge comeback due to Big Data Movement and in collecting data for infrastructure. An example he used was the Target story discussed in class, (where the young women was given pregnancy coupons at the end of her transaction at Target and her father was upset and contacted Target. It turned out that his sixteen year old daughter was indeed pregnant) showing that computers are now taking information in order for decision making. He discussed what should computers be doing. Should computers drive cars? In order to come to that decision, questions regarding values and ethics are brought up. Do we trust computers? Do our values override computing? What track record does computer have versus humans? The more power computers have, the less valuable humans become. AI removes jobs because they can do more than humans thus it affects our economy. Human nature now changes.
Professor Moore also predicted issues AI might raise if we combine humans with AI (such as human’s playing computers in chess). AI will affect ethics because technology has trade-offs with consequences. It begins to question who we are and affects us emotionally.
I never knew much about AI but seeing how it affects everyday life and the future of it was astounding. I am happy to say that Anita Sarkessian’s speech and Professor Moore’s speech made my experience at the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy a memorable moment that I will remember for years to come.