Author: Justin Birley
The Ethical Implications of AI
Artificial Intelligence, and the technology that accompanies it, has always had to endure the somewhat problematic issue of ethics. While it often increases the efficiency with which simple and not so simple tasks can he completed, it has proven difficult to set up checks and balances, ensure privacy regulations are being met, and that automation processes don’t go haywire. In this blog we’ll explore how the healthcare industry is particularly affected by the ethical implications of AI and seek to conclude whether there is scope for the widescale implementation of these technologies in the near future. We’ll also discuss IBM Channel Partners innovative role in providing secure systems and innovative platforms for developing ethical AI that look set to change the nature of this debate forever.
AI in Healthcare
Many of these questions have been at the core at the core of the recent healthcare debates. Hospitals are often understaffed, leading to issues with the quality of care, and most departments are often stretched to their limit or worse, significantly beyond that limit. Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that archaic technology and inefficient systems and processes are still rife within the healthcare sector. Nowhere is this more evident than in the NHS, with reports emerging that over 900 deaths a year can be attributed to poor NHS technology and systems. The report came after several warnings that the NHS was not meeting basic requirements for Cyber Security and that it was prone to extortion and malicious malware. This raises serious concerns over the viability of current technology and has led many to assert that AI and new technology, when implemented safely, can provide some much-needed respite.
But how do we use AI properly? How do we stop it from exacerbating the issues already present within so many systems? And, most importantly, how do we use it ethically?
The big issue is deciding whether AI will be assisting people or providing the decisions altogether. For example, who decides the underlying values and principles that govern the algorithms of the technology? Various cultural and scientific opinions can create perfectly ‘ethical’ systems that simply adhere to a different definition of ethics, creating a semblance of morality that is still fundamentally at odds with other definitions (read algorithms) of ethics.
Introducing AI into healthcare won’t get rid of uncertainty and disagreement over which action to take; if anything, it will promulgate these differences on a wider scale. The question is how do we manage these ethical questions and what frameworks must be set up to ensure that the underlying moral criteria is being met? For example, for consumer goods, what is the weight of profits versus customer satisfaction and safety and who is responsible for that balance? Is it the consumer, the manufacturer, or an external regulatory body?
More than anything, these are questions we ourselves must learn to answer before we can rely on AI to implement these opinions. AI won’t remove the debate; we’ll still need to decide for ourselves what we, as a society, think is ethical and how AI can implement that fairly. As a result, more needs to be done to ensure that infrastructures are in place to provide the supporting network that AI needs to function ethically.
IBM and the future of AI
AI will continue to push innovation and development, allowing comprehensive systems to emerge, almost organically, from the big data that feeds our technology. For many developers and thinkers alike, IBM Channel Partners have become a crucial driver in the development and research into AI, which is underpinned by the increasing number of mobile Apps that make use of their wide range of API’s.
Not only does IBM provide a level of cyber security that is both unprecedented and reliable, but the infrastructure that governs the IBM Channel Partner platforms and systems provides a new level of data security and privacy that is particularly relevant for health techs and other sectors concerned with ethics. IBM’s major goal has been, and will continue to be, moving to a human-level of intelligence, which is where we’ll start to really see the widescale adoption of AI technologies in a variety of different sectors. As AI becomes more comprehensive and pervasive, we must ensure that systems are in place that build user trust and motivate innovation.
Vivolution is a big believer in that process. As a result, we’ve helped countless businesses and IBM Channel Partners connect in ways that push the possibilities of technology, cognitive decision making and AI closer together with healthtech scale-ups delivering innovative solutions. Contact us today for more information about the work we do and how IBM Channel Partners can help drive your AI and technological growth forward, in a collaborative and innovative approach.