Will OpenAI Have High Ethical Standards?

OpenAI is a new nonprofit aimed at developing artificial intelligence that “benefits humanity”:

A billion dollars is quite a lot of money to invest—even if your goal is saving the world from the ill effects of super-smart artificial intelligence that humans can’t control.

That’s the amount of cash several big-name entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Sam Altman of Y Combinator, have committed to investing in OpenA...

The idea is this: without answering to either academia or industry, OpenAI will be better able to consider the ethical implications of the technology it is creating...

“I’d agree that AI is a very powerful tool, and some designs and uses can be better or worse than others,” says Patrick Lin, a philosopher at Cal Poly who studies the ethics of automation and artificial intelligence. But, he adds: “OpenAI says that it aims at ‘a good outcome for all’ and to ‘benefit humanity as a whole,’ but who gets to define what the good outcome is?”

Lin notes that some of those backing OpenAI are known for their libertarian views, which may not align with the public at large. And he points to Tesla’s decision to beta-test its self-driving technology on the public roads as ethically questionable. Lin also says that simply removing a financial incentive does not necessarily eradicate the potential for things to go wrong.

SF readers may be reminded of the Bolo autonomous tanks from Keith Laumer's stories. From simpler beginnings, the Bolos evolved to exemplars of military and civic virtue.

Read more at Technology Review.

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