Industry Insights

Mar 31, 2024

Ethical Considerations in AI Expansion

Person walking forward

A new generative AI advancement is introduced to the world through a research paper or carefully worded blog post.

Thought leaders and notable names gush over how it will revolutionize the world and upend something (for good, perhaps). When it is slowly rolled out to exclusive partners, its jaw-dropping qualities are treated as a spectacle, shared countless times over social media and on the news. After the public finally gets a hold of it, users find innovative new ways to implement it and collectively blow everyone's minds.

At the same time, bad actors have concurrently figured out how to use this technology to abuse or defraud people en masse. The parent company stays noticeably silent or, worse, talks about non-specific actions they will take to one day combat abuse. (Maybe.)

This is the current cycle of generative AI release and response — emphasizing sheer spectacle, marvel, and proliferation over everything else. It does not, however, build in failsafes or protections for potential of abuse, ethical quandaries faced, or societal norms challenged. This is how we live in a world with both tools straight out of a sci-fi novel and greatly accelerated abuse, fraud, and disinformation.

Generative AI is Good

I truly believe advancements in generative AI are, by and large, a net positive for society. Anything that accelerates and democratizes learning, development, and growth (personal, societal, business, &c) can help usher in a new age of humanity — one that I optimistically believe will lead to greater equality, better access, and an overall more harmonious existence.

The key to harnessing generative AI's true potential lies not in resisting its development, but in guiding it with a thoughtful, ethical framework that prioritizes the welfare of all. By implementing strong ethical considerations into AI development, we can ensure that these powerful tools serve to enhance human capabilities rather than exploit or diminish them. We already implement such things into our processes at Reality Defender when building our deepfake detection models and platform, not by legislative mandate — though we implore our elected officials to consider such a thing — but because it wholly aligns with our mission and beliefs as professionals working on the defensive side of generative AI.

Such frameworks are only part of the solution. As researchers and developers continue to innovate and introduce new generative AI models and systems, it is crucial that we foster a culture of responsibility among developers, users, and regulators alike. This means not just the creation of more advanced AI systems, but also the development of robust mechanisms for accountability, transparency, and public engagement. Our government is partially on the way to creating frameworks for this, though mechanisms of implementation and consequences for lack of participation are currently murky at best.

A Guiding Hand, Not Handcuffs

Unlike early and primitive advancements in technology and art, generative AI has the potential for causing an immense amount of harm at a breakneck pace. Yet I am not calling for slowed development or lack of development at all. I believe we should continue these developments at their current pace while simultaneously considering their rollout and deployment on a massive scale, as well as the dangers they may pose to existing tenets of society and order that we hold dear.

By baking these considerations into development and deployment, we can still build a future where generative AI acts as a catalyst for positive change, drives forward solutions to some of our most pressing global challenges, and concurrently safeguarding against its potential for harm.

After all, generative AI is not just a technological marvel; it is a gateway to a future where technology amplifies human potential, bridges divides, and charts new paths for creativity and innovation. Our journey ahead will undoubtedly be fraught with many challenges and headstrong opposition to even the slightest amount of apprehension. Yet with ethical considerations baked in, collaboration amongst developers, and mitigation of major harms, the benefits of generative AI can far outweigh the risks, bringing us toward a world that reflects the best of what technology and humanity can achieve.

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