Wake up Wednesday: AI Ethics is mostly BS


I’ve already called out the Responsible Innovation movement for doing little more than #ethicswashing. For those of you that read this article, you’ll likely empathise with my position. I’m not being confrontational for the sake of confrontation. I’m not calling out cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy for the sake of being ‘right’. I’m doing this because, unless we overcome systematic failures, we will not make the progress so many of us envisage is possible.

Big tech is regularly accused of ethics washing. Many speculate (validly) that this is largely due to the fact that scrutiny and accountability are to be avoided (by these companies) like the plague.

But the story behind all this ethics banter may be more sinister. Unless we’re willing to lift the rug, critically inspect the stuff that’s been swept under it and challenge ourselves and those around us to do better, well…

So, I’d like to propose a simple series of actions.

  1. Read this post titled, The invention of ‘ethical AI’
  2. Consider the authors perspective. Don’t rush. Take days if you need it
  3. Write down three rebuttals to the content
  4. Write down three supporting arguments for the content
  5. Share what you’ve written in the comments

Why am I asking you to do this?

Because too few of us are being critical. Too many of us are focused on the latest guide, report, talk or set of principles. Too few of us are tackling the system failures that have enabled The Social Dilemma. Too few of us are approaching ethics with a highly operational, skills based and behaviourally driven approach. Too many of us are wasting our time by duplicating effort and producing the same, largely unusable outputs.

Whether it be AI Ethics, Data Ethics, Business Ethics or some other classification, this is all about the decision making processes we execute to design a better tomorrow. Let’s work together to get better at this. Clearly we need it.

With much ❤️