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Professional Development with PowerED

Artificial intelligence ethics the solution to AI gone wrong

Artificial Intelligence has big implications on the world around us.

Chances are you’ve used artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and don’t even know it. Think: those (sometimes) helpful website chatbots, your e-mail spam filter, or even credit card security.  

Becoming a better-informed consumer of AI technologies is more important than ever to understand how our data is being used and the type of risks at play when AI goes wrong. 

“As AI is increasingly becoming a part of our lives, it’s really raising the stakes on the need to implement ethical practices in developing, designing, and deploying this technology,” said Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI and PowerED™ by Athabasca University expert.  

Ingram founded Ethically Aligned AI, which helps people and organizations build better AI systems and make sound choices in selecting trustworthy AI-enabled products or services. 

“As AI is increasingly becoming a part of our lives, it’s really raising the stakes on the need to implement ethical practices in developing, designing, and deploying this technology.”

– Katrina Ingram

What is AI?

The first thing many people think of when encountering the term “artificial intelligence” is a computer or robot capable of sophisticated conversation—an artificial being that could take on nearly any task that a human could with efficiency and speed.

This image of AI is rooted in science fiction: think Data from Star Trek, Robot from Lost in Space, or C-3P0 from Star Wars 

In the real world, AI is currently limited to artificial narrow intelligence. A narrow AI isn’t a sci-fi android or independent being with a brain made of silicon chips. Narrow AI is a highly complex mathematical model designed to accomplish repetitive and specific, narrowly defined tasks.

“People have this dystopian idea of a killer robot or a Hollywood superintelligence that is going to exterminate humanity, but thankfully that’s not the kind of artificial intelligence that we have in the world today,” said Ingram.

AI creates efficiencies and makes many aspects of our lives and work easier, there are real-world risks for businesses and humans who rely on AI processes.

Unintended consequences of AI systems

When AI is done poorly, everyone loses. This emerging area is known as AI ethics and its response to all of the harms of AI gone wrong. Privacy breaches mean data can end up in the wrong hands, or the data can lie—and it can discriminate, too.

To provide an informative solution to this growing problem, PowerED™ by Athabasca University has developed a four-course micro-credential in AI ethics. Being an informed consumer of AI ethics benefits society as a whole, says Ingram, who helped develop the course.

“We’ve seen chatbots that are spewing off all kinds of racist and sexist commentary, or things like the controversial uses of facial recognition technology in law enforcement.”

Ingram explained that there are even algorithms that can disseminate against people from having access to services like jobs, loans, or even access to education.

“These are not edge cases,” said Ingram. “They are the unintended consequences of how we currently design technology.

Ingram also explained that for those of us using these technologies, it’s important to understand how they work to make better choices.

Learn more about AI ethics

Explore the ethical issues posed by the advancement of AI and expand your knowledge of the applications, misconceptions, and limitations of AI in PowerED™ by Athabasca University’s Artificial Intelligence Ethics: An Introduction micro-course. The four-course program includes an Introduction to AI Ethics, Data, Machine Learning Models, and Roboethics.

“It’s not just for individuals who work in tech. You may be leading marketing or customer services and looking to implement an AI tool to support your operations,” said Jessica Scott, director of PowerED™.

“This certification is equivalent to occupational health and safety training for anybody that’s working with digital technology.”

This latest PowerED™ micro-credential is on-demand, fully online, and self-paced to suit your work-life balance.

Learn more about PowerED’s new Artificial Intelligence Ethics micro-credential.

  • April 4, 2022