Future of AI and Ethics

Future of AI and Ethics

June 26, 2023
Future Implications
Guest Speaker


Key Terms:

Future ethics, ethical foresight, emerging technologies

Guiding Questions

  1. What are the potential future ethical challenges of AI?
  2. How can we practice ethical foresight in AI development?
  3. How might emerging technologies change the ethical landscape of AI?

To Read

Future Ethics" - Cennydd Bowles

Reach Chapters 8 & 9

📕Future Ethics

Supplemental Reading

To Watch

Student Facilitation

Reading: "A Theory of Justice" - John Rawls

for facilitation schedule

We are reading Rawls’ A Theory of Justice in Chapter 19 of 📕Ethics: The Essential Modern Writings.

Summary: Rawls' "Theory of Justice" introduces concepts of justice as fairness, the original position, and the veil of ignorance. These principles aim to create a just society by ensuring that societal structures benefit all individuals, including the least advantaged. In the context of AI, this can be applied to discuss how AI systems should be designed to ensure fairness and justice.

Key Questions:

  1. How can Rawls' principle of justice as fairness be applied to the design and implementation of AI systems?
  2. How might the concept of the veil of ignorance inform our approach to ensuring fairness in AI?
  3. In what ways could AI potentially challenge or reinforce societal structures from a Rawlsian perspective?

Prep for Final

Incorporating elements of community involvement and agency in decision-making is a key aspect of building a just AI system. It's important to make sure the voices of those who will be affected by the technology are heard and they have the power to shape its development and use and make choices about where and when to use new technologies.

Activity: "Community-Centered AI Ethical Guidelines Workshop"

Objective: This activity aims to guide students in drafting an initial outline of community-centered ethical guidelines for AI in communication, using Rawls' Difference Principle as a primary ethical frame. It also includes provisions for safeguarding against misuse and harmful behaviors.


  1. Introduction and Grouping: Divide into small groups. Each group will select an organization type - a community group, a prestigious organization, the United Nations (UN), or a leading technology company like Google or Facebook, an online community, a physical community. Your community may be large or small. It may be online or offline.
  2. Research Existing Codes and Frameworks: Each group will research existing codes and frameworks related to AI ethics, with a focus on communication and community agency. We’ve read quite a few in class - but many don’t put community at the center of their thinking, nor do they often account for the least advantaged folks.
  3. Identify Gaps and Ethical Challenges: Groups should identify gaps or limitations in the existing frameworks, particularly regarding how AI benefits can be distributed to the least advantaged, how community voices can be incorporated in AI decision-making, and how safeguards can be implemented against misuse.
  4. Drafting Ethical Principles: The groups will develop a preliminary set of ethical principles and guidelines that address the identified gaps and challenges. They should consider how to balance potential benefits and harms, incorporate community voices and agency in AI decisions, and include safeguards against harmful behaviors.
  5. Presentation and Feedback: Each group will present their initial draft of the ethical guidelines. Other groups will provide constructive feedback, considering the practicality, comprehensiveness, and ethical soundness of the proposed guidelines.
  6. Reflection and Discussion: The class will discuss common themes, challenges, and potential solutions that emerged during the activity. They should also reflect on how this exercise might help them in completing their final project.

Materials needed: Access to online resources, a virtual or physical whiteboard for brainstorming, presentation tools, and note-taking materials.

Outcomes: This activity will help you understand the process of developing community-centered ethical guidelines for AI, apply ethical theories in a practical context, and prepare for their final project by creating an initial draft of their ethical guidelines.