Weaponisation of artificial intelligence (AI) presents one of the greatest ethical and technological challenges in the 21st century and has been described as the third revolution in warfare, after the invention of gunpowder and nuclear weapons. Despite the vital importance of this development for modern society, legal and ethical practices, and technological turning point, there is little systematic study of public opinion on this critical issue. This interdisciplinary project addresses this gap. Our objective is to analyse what factors determine public attitudes towards the use of fully autonomous weapons. To do this, we put the public at the center of the policy debate, starting with youth engagement in political and decision-making processes.
On June 16th we joined civil society organizations like Privacy International, the European Digital Rights association EDRi and various others for a half-day civil society summit organized by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). On the agenda were a brief overview of the “Big Issues in Privacy and Data Protection in 2016” by Joe MCNamee of EDRi followed by three one-hour sessions on “Implementation of the GDPR, consistency, flexibility, guidelines” introduced by Anna Fielder (Privacy International); “Reform of e-Privacy Directive: What’s at stake?” introduced by Prof. Ian Brown (Oxford Internet Institute); and “Necessity and proportionality and data protection” introduced by Ralf Bendrath (German Working Group on Data Retention and Digitale Gesellschaft).
At the heart of current online consumer protection is the concept of informed consent where by the prospective consumer makes a conscious decision to sign up to a service with full knowledge and consent to the consequences of doing so. Even in the newly signed EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will go into effect in 2018, this will not fundamentally change. For anyone who has ever used a commercial internet service however, and this included policy makers, it is glaringly obvious that there is a fundamental flaw in this approach, namely the assumption that the consumer has a good understanding of the contract that is being entered into.
The second items, is a recently published set of guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics that was published online by Ben Zevenbergen with input from host of people who participated at various ethics workshops organized by Ben.
On March 1st I participated in a debate on Digital Ethics organized by the Digital Enlightenment Forum (DEF). The debate was a follow-up of previous discussions at the DEF in 2015 and brought together lawyers, engineers, economists, social scientists and philosophers to discuss challenges and possible framework for digital ethics that might help people, organizations, businesses and societies deal with the fast and complex ways in which digital technologies are impacting human lives. What follows is an abbreviated summary of the event. A more complete version is available from the DEF website.