Companies should focus on AI ethics even if it hits profits, says Microsoft UK director

Companies must refuse to create artificial intelligence that is unethical and could harm humanity, even if it affects their profits, a senior director at Microsoft UK has aforesaid.

Hugh Milward, Senior Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, aforesaid businesses need to “draw a line” on what is acceptable when developing up-to-date technology and understand their responsibilities.

“Just because thing can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done,” he told the technical school UK Digital Ethics Summit in London.

The event detected from leading figures in business and government on how the UK can remain a global leader in building digital employment and technology, and discussed how they should be used for the benefits of everyone.

Hugh Milward speaks at technical school UK Digital Ethics Conference
Hugh Milward speaks at the technical school UK Digital Ethics Summit

“It is essential to build trust in technology so much as AI,” Milward aforesaid. “People can see the benefits of it in sectors so much as health care but they besides have concerns around invasion of privacy and job losings. They can see change is coming and they want governments and society to be involved in that.

“There are three key aspects of AI development we need to look at: building ethical principles, regulation of facial recognition, and portion people develop the digital skills they will need to thrive in the work, as well as the human skills that make us who we are, so much as sympathy and critical thinking.”

AI is not yet being used by the NHS and major companies so much as Marks & Spencer to improve how they work. Milward foreseen that the demand for the technology would grow, pointing to research discharged by Microsoft showing that nearly half of bosses believe their business model won’t exist by 2023. piece 41% of business leadership believe they will have to undramatically change the way they work inside the next five years, more than half (51%) do not have an AI strategy in place to address those challenges, he aforesaid.

nevertheless, the world is presently in a unique position whereby society is trying to address a technological leap forward as it is still happening, Milward added.

“Governments, companies and organisations are trying to intervene and regulate AI as this technology is developing, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen that before,” he aforesaid. “Historically, the gap between the adoption of technology and regulation has been quite wide, but now it’s very narrow. That’s a good thing. Ideally, we need to make it as narrow as possible.”

Milward was speaking after Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and Margot James MP, Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The latter used her keynote speech at the technical school UK event to highlight the “amazing opportunities, prosperity and growth” that technology offers, “but only if they are developed unethically and irresponsibly and retain the trust of society”.

The Government set up the Centre for information Ethics and Innovation earlier this year to help the UK unlock the benefits of AI piece advising ministers on how to develop it safely. “The countries leading the AI debate will remain competitive in a very competitive world,” she aforesaid.

Kate Rosenshine, Cloud Solution designer Manager at Microsoft, aforesaid the UK can gain an advantage by learning from how biotechnology has evolved over the past three decades.

Kate Rosenshine at technical school UK Digital Ethics Conference
Kate Rosenshine speaks at the technical school UK Digital Ethics Summit

“Thirty years ago, biotechnology was at a similar stage to AI today – it was showing great promise in its ability to alter the course of human development,” she aforesaid in her technical school UK keynote. “Scientists accomplished the importance of talking to the public about the technology, to give them ingenuous information. This, in turn, helped policy makers make abreast decisions regarding the ethics and regulations in the biotech field.

“The industry came together, with multiple stakeholders, and the personal effects of the consequent guidelines are still being felt today, as the general public participates in scientific discourse. This allowed for progress in the field with more public support, and has brought galore benefits to the public.”

When it comes to AI, part of the discussion will focus on the collection and use of information, which is critical to the technology’s development and effectiveness. One of the key considerations for companies is how to reduce the amount of bias in algorithms in order to ensure that AI benefits everyone. Rosenshine believes the answer to that issue lies with world.

“When we design AI systems, we need to avoid bias as much as possible,” she aforesaid. “We need to think about where information comes from and how and for what purpose it was collected; so, we need world to physically review that process. nevertheless, those systems besides need to represent everyone, but they can’t if the teams creating them are not diverse.

“Machines are good at recognising patterns and scale, but world are good at reasoning and learning from just a few examples. By working together and allowing AI to reinforce what world are good at, we get thing stronger.”

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