AI Ethics: A Deflationary Yet Cautionary Tale The field of “AI ethics” is effervescent. While some scholars wonder whether the interests of artificial agents endowed with “general intelligence” will be aligned with human values, others want us to focus on the immediate challenges raised by the weak and narrow AI systems that are currently being developed. Civil society actors, policy makers, elected officials, international organizations and some business leaders reflect on the best ways to regulate AI. In this talk, I will first suggest that what I call “inflationary” thinking about the future development of AI and its likely impacts on human life hinders a sober reflection on the risks created by current AI technologies and the ways to mitigate them. Second, I will attempt to show how a deflationary view can help addressing the “explainability problem” plaguing decision-making or predictive machine learning algorithms.
Jocelyn Maclure is Full Professor of Philosophy at Laval University and the current President of the Ethics in Science and Technology Commission of the Quebec Government. Known for his work in political philosophy and ethics, his recent work focusses on artificial intelligence and end of life issues. He coauthored, with Charles Taylor, Secularism and Freedom of Conscience (Harvard University Press, 2011). His recent work appeared in Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, McGill Law Journal and AI & Society.