Why the biggest challenge facing AI is an ethical one

Artificial intelligence is everywhere and it’s here to stay. Most aspects of our lives are now touched by artificial intelligence in one way or another, from deciding what books or flights to buy online to whether our job applications are successful, whether we receive a bank loan, and even what treatment we receive for cancer.

All of these things – and many more – can now be determined largely automatically by complex software systems. The enormous strides AI has made in the last few years are striking – and AI has the potential to make our lives better in many ways.

In the last couple of years, the rise of artificial intelligence has been inescapable. Vast sums of money have been thrown at AI start-ups. Many existing tech companies – including the giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft – have opened new research labs. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that software now means AI.

Some predict an upheaval as big as – or bigger – than that brought by the internet. We asked a panel of technologists what this rapidly changing world brimming with brilliant machines has in store for humans. Remarkably, nearly all of their responses centre on the question of ethics.

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