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How Tech Giants Are Devising Real Ethics for Artificial Intelligence

While science fiction has focused on the existential threat of A.I. to humans, researchers at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and those from AmazonFacebookIBM and Microsoft have been meeting to discuss more tangible issues, such as the impact of A.I. on jobs, transportation and even warfare.

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"The importance of the industry effort is underscored in a report issued on Thursday by a Stanford University group funded by Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who is one of the executives in the industry discussions. The Stanford project, called the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence, lays out a plan to produce a detailed report on the impact of A.I. on society every five years for the next century."

Doesn't it feel like a few people are determining our collective future?

"Separately, Reid Hoffman, a founder of LinkedIn who has a background in artificial intelligence, is in discussions with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab to fund a project exploring the social and economic effects of artificial intelligence.

Both the M.I.T. effort and the industry partnership are trying to link technology advances more closely to social and economic policy issues. The M.I.T. group has been discussing the idea of designing new A.I. and robotic systems with “society in the loop.”

The phrase is a reference to the long-running debate about designing computer and robotic systems that still require interaction with humans. For example, the Pentagon has recently begun articulating a military strategy that calls for using A.I. in which humans continue to control killing decisions, rather than delegating that responsibility to machines."

"The Stanford report attempts to define the issues that citizens of a typical North American city will face in computers and robotic systems that mimic human capabilities. The authors explore eight aspects of modern life, including health care, education, entertainment and employment, but specifically do not look at the issue of warfare. They said that military A.I. applications were outside their current scope and expertise, but they did not rule out focusing on weapons in the future."

What about citizens of other cities? Citizens not in cities?

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