Transcripts, 2018 Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford Conference: Ethics and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

May 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are increasingly influential parts of human society. They are reshaping labor needs, heightening concerns over inequality, and changing the ways that people associate and interact with one another.

Yet the discussion around AI and robotics tends to fragment by field and profession. Technical experts, engineers, social scientists, philosophers, businesspeople, government officials, and diplomats may see similar trends, but they ask different questions. All have valuable perspectives to consider. And each can contribute to a much-needed public conversation about the direction of AI and robotics research and use.

Currently, there are few domestic or international guardrails in this area to protect the public interest. Both AI and robotics have many practical applications, but it is not given that they are developing (or will develop) in socially beneficial ways. As with other powerful technologies, citizens may need to establish ethical standards and introduce basic legal limitations on their use.

In May 2018, a group of industry and academic researchers, moral philosophers, and diplomatic and government officials congregated at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for the annual Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford International Conference. Presenters illuminated the ethical challenges and promising applications for AI and robotics. Their work also raised important questions for society to consider.

What kinds of decisions should we delegate to machines? Can and should we program morality into certain applications of AI? Should AI be used in defense and policing—and under what circumstances?

Can robots adequately replace human workers in some situations? Are there social repercussions? What are the challenges and opportunities associated with automation? Are societies obligated to insure equitable public benefit from these technologies?

How might AI be regulated? Which governing bodies have the power and proper tools? What basic principles can communities agree on?

The following pages contain transcripts from the 2018 Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford International Conference on the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics. They are presented in an educational spirit. They are not meant to offer definitive conclusions, but instead to share ideas and stimulate broader discussion about these technologies’ present and future roles in society.