What is AI for? And the Ethics in Data – Jianning Wu

As I have gained from the reading this week, with inspiration from the brain, Artificial Intelligence is a designed practical computer/machine that can mimic humans and make decisions as humans do. It is not an easy job and requires supportive hardware, learning abilities, and adaptive programs/algorithms. Although, currently, Artificial Intelligence is not that intelligent compared with what has been presented in universal imagination or “aspects of hype, hope, and hysteria” (cited from Prof. Irvine), it has taken us a long time to achieve, and it is everywhere. But what the ultimate purpose or goal of artificial intelligence is? As Hebert A Simon discussed the functional or purposeful aspect of artificial things, he mentioned that “fulfillment of purpose or adaptation to a goal involves a relation among three terms: the purpose or goal, the character of the artifact, and the environment in which the artifact performs.” The latter two terms are interacted and serve together for the purpose of an artifact. Is the AI just like its literal meaning- making an intelligence like a human? Or allowing computers and machines to function in an intelligent manner? Different goals will lead the consequence in different ways. In the former pattern, AI will become a moral challenge in the future when computing techniques are mature enough for constructing areal AI. Adversely, in the latter term, AI will assist us in making progress whatever it is ripe or not.

In addition, in the data section in Machine Learning: The New AI, Ethem Alpaydin demonstrated the importance of data- “data starts to drive the operation; it is not the programmers anymore but the data itself that defines what to do next.” Though the author provides us great ways of using data, such as helping build a better structure in retailers’ supply chains, this makes me curious and even worry about how we could guarantee those data will be used acceptably? How could we protect our private information? How could we ensure that our data will not be taken advantage of to achieve a particular party’s goals (like in an election or a business competition)? How media stay equitably and neutrally while they need to filter a huge amount of data/information in the meantime? And there are dozens of questions about data. The most critical one is how we could maintain the balance between ethics and utilization of data?