Deborah G. Johnson, Guglielmo Tamburrini, and Yi Zeng: “Ethics and IT: How AI is Reshaping our World”

"This panel discussion, part of our DIGHUM lecture series, will deal with the ethical implications and global challenges of AI."

Panelists: Yi Zeng (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), Deborah G. Johnson (University of Virginia, USA), Guglielmo Tamburrini (University of Naples, Italy)
Panelists: Yi Zeng (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), Deborah G. Johnson (University of Virginia, USA), Guglielmo Tamburrini (University of Naples, Italy)

November 3rd 2020

  • 17:00 – 18:30 CET
  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

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About the Event

November 3, 2020
5:00 – 6:30 PM
(17:00) CET


This panel debate will investigate the development of AI from a philosophical perspective. In particular, we will discuss the ethical implications of AI and the global challenges raised by the widespread adoption of socio-technical systems powered by AI tools. These challenges will be addressed by the three speakers from different cultural and geographical perspectives. We invite the audience to be part of the debate to increase with the panel our understanding how AI is reshaping the world and the awareness of the challenges we will face in the future.

Safety, Fairness, and Visual Integrity in an AI-shaped world
Deborah Johnson

AI algorithms are potent components in decisions that affect the lives of individuals and the activities of public and private institutions. Although the use of algorithms to make decisions has many benefits, a number of problems have been identified with their use in certain domains, most notably in domains in which safety and fairness are important. AI algorithms are also used to produce tools that enable individuals to do things they would not otherwise be able to do. In the case of synthetic media technologies, users are able to produce deepfakes that challenge the integrity of visual experience. In my presentation, I will discuss safety, fairness, and visual integrity as three ethical issues arising in an AI-shaped world.

Global Challenges for AI Ethics
Guglielmo Tamburrini

The Covid-19 pandemics is forcing us to address some global challenges concerning human well-being and fundamental rights protection. This panel presentation explores ethically ambivalent roles that AI plays in connection with two additional global challenges: (1) climate warming and (2) threats to international peace. 1. AI has a significant carbon footprint. Should one set quantitative limits to the energy consumption required for AI model training? And if so, how must one distribute AI carbon quotas among States, businesses, and research? Should one limit the collection of user data to feed into data-hungry AI systems? And who should be in charge of deciding which data to collect, preserve or get rid of for the sake of environmental protection? 2. An AI arms race is well under its way, ranging from the development of autonomous weapons systems to the development of AI systems for discovering software vulnerabilities and waging cyberconflicts. Should the weaponization of AI be internationally regulated? And if so, how to interpret and apply within this domain human rights, humanitarian principles and the UN fundamental goal of preserving world peace and stability? This panel presentation is rounded out by looking at EU efforts to cope with some of these global ethical issues.

Building Ethical AI for the Human-AI Symbiotic Society
Yi Zeng

In this talk, I will provide a global landscape of AI Ethical Principles and investigate on how the efforts complete each other, instead of compete with each other. I will then talk about concrete groundings of AI Ethical principles and introduce technical and social efforts in different domains. Finally, I will extend the discussion to long-term A(G)I ethical challenges and a possible positive path.


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Ethics and IT: How AI is Reshaping our World
Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cqYBMZpgkE8