The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Published on June 01, 2023

Ethics are a set of moral principles that help us discern between wrong and right. There are various definitions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, but the generally accepted meaning defines it as a term given to a vast collection of considerations for responsible AI that combines security, environmental, human concerns, and safety considerations.

Areas AI Ethics Showcases

1) AI and Privacy: AI relies on vital information to learn from, and a reasonable fraction of this information comes from users. Although not all users know the information gathered about them and how it is used to make decisions that affect them positively or negatively.

For example, everything that happens on the internet, from searches to online orders and purchases to comments on pages, can be used to identify, personalize, or track down experiences.

This can produce a positive outcome, like AI recommending a product/service to a user but can result in unexpected bias, like offers provided to some customers and not everyone.

2) Avoiding AI Bias: AI’s learn from poorly constructed data and can demonstrate different biases against weak-represented subsets of data, particularly an AI that is not well trained can show preference against underrepresented or minority groups.

Known bias cases are seen in chatbots and hiring tools; these have disgraced popular corporate brands and developed legal risk.

3) Avoiding AI Mistakes: An AI that is poorly constructed can make mistakes that can lead to loss of revenue or even death. Proper testing needs to be carried out to ensure that the AI does not threaten humans and their environment.

We, humans, come with various cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and recency; these inherent biases are seen in our behaviors and data.

Balancing Progress and Responsibility with the Ethics of AI

As AI continues to deploy and develop, it is vital to balance progress and responsibility.; this entails taking crucial steps to ensure our systems are fair, accountable, and transparent.

One unique way to do this is by ensuring that all the data used to train these systems are representative and diverse; this helps to reduce bias and ensure our AI systems are equitable and fair.

Also, we need to be careful of AI privacy implications. This means being transparent enough about how data is collected and used and also ensuring that individuals have complete control over their data.

Discrimination and bias are key ethical challenges posed by AI because these systems are trained and designed by humans, they can reflect the prejudices of their developers, leading to inequalities in lending, hiring and criminal justice. Another growing concern is that AI has the potential for unintended consequences.

As AI systems become autonomous and sophisticated, they may start to behave in dangerous ways. For instance, a self-driving car can make a swift decision that can lead to an accident.

One way to ensure safety is for our AI systems to be able to be created and implemented transparently; this means developing understandable ethical guidelines for AI testing, development and deployment.

Another way is by promoting inclusivity and diversity in the growth of AI systems ensuring they are subject to rigorous evaluation and testing before showcasing it to the world.

How Governments are Grappling with the Ethical Challenges of AI from Algorithm Bias to Privacy Concerns

The government’s efforts concerning AI have been a parallel and separate approach to identifying the problems posed by AI. An algorithm takes huge scores of our decisions on our behalf; these algorithms come into our lives as chatbots, in-app voice assistants, or search analysis data.

Algorithms make decisions by keeping citizens involved because they are trusted more than humans as they seem impartial. Digital theft is a dangerous and new form of criminal activity that increases steadily with increasing reliance on AI.

An AI that has been made with evil intentions can cause severe damage. The government now addresses the ethics, transparency, and safety issues surrounding AI that most agencies cannot fix.

Validating these algorithms and working on the privacy of citizens would help the citizens engage positively with AI tools.

Another way the government is grappling with the ethical challenges of AI in privacy concerns is by using data types that are necessary to create AI; the data used is secured and maintained for an extended period.

Also, the government adds AI to its data strategy and designs resources for security, AI privacy, and monitoring; this allows users to know when their data is used to make decisions about them; users are given a choice to consent to such data use.


The ethical challenges AI poses are multifaceted and complex, requiring collaboration and engagement from the government; doing this promotes transparency, inclusiveness and responsibility.

The government ensures that technology as powerful as AI is used for the better instead of promoting injustice and inequality.



About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2023