“Hard Choices in Artificial Intelligence: Addressing Normative Uncertainty Through Sociotechnical Commitments” Accepted by AIES

21 Feb 2020

The AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES) 2020 accepted a paper, “Hard Choices in Artificial Intelligence: Addressing Normative Uncertainty through Sociotechnical Commitments,” coauthored by CHAI machine ethics researcher Thomas Gilbert.

The abstract of the paper is below:

As AI systems become prevalent in high stakes domains such as surveillance and healthcare, researchers now examine how to design and implement them in a safe manner. However, the potential harms caused by systems to stakeholders in complex social contexts and how to address these remains unclear. In this paper, we explain the inherent normative uncertainty in debates about the safety of AI systems. We then address this as a problem of vagueness by examining its place in the design, training, and deployment stages of AI system development. We adopt Ruth Chang’s theory of intuitive comparability to illustrate the dilemmas that manifest at each stage. We then discuss how stakeholders can navigate these dilemmas by incorporating distinct forms of dissent into the development pipeline, drawing on Elizabeth Anderson’s work on the epistemic powers of democratic institutions. We outline a framework of sociotechnical commitments to formal, substantive and discursive challenges that address normative uncertainty across stakeholders, and propose the cultivation of related virtues by those responsible for development.