TU Wien Informatics

Ethics and IT: How AI is Reshaping Our World

  • By Claudia Vitt (edt.)
  • 2020-11-03
  • Public Lecture
  • Event
  • AI
  • Social Responsibility

This panel discussion, part of our DIGHUM lecture series, will deal with the ethical implications and global challenges of AI.

Ethics and IT: How AI is Reshaping Our World

  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

Ethics and IT: How AI is Reshaping Our World

Deborah Johnson, University of Virginia, USA: Safety, Fairness, and Visual Integrity in an AI-shaped world

Guglielmo Tamburrini, University of Naples, Italy: Global Challenges for AI Ethics

Yi Zeng, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China: Building Ethical AI for the Human-AI Symbiotic Society

moderated by Viola Schiaffonati, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

This panel debate will investigate the development of AI from a philosophical perspective. In particular, we will discuss the ethical implications of AI and the global challenges raised by the widespread adoption of socio-technical systems powered by AI tools. These challenges will be addressed by the three speakers from different cultural and geographical perspectives.


Deborah Johnson: Safety, Fairness, and Visual Integrity in an AI-shaped world

AI algorithms are potent components in decisions that affect the lives of individuals and the activities of public and private institutions. Although the use of algorithms to make decisions has many benefits, a number of problems have been identified with their use in certain domains, most notably in domains in which safety and fairness are important. AI algorithms are also used to produce tools that enable individuals to do things they would not otherwise be able to do. In the case of synthetic media technologies, users are able to produce deepfakes that challenge the integrity of visual experience. In her presentation, Deborah Johnson will discuss safety, fairness, and visual integrity as three ethical issues arising in an AI-shaped world.

Guglielmo Tamburrini: Global Challenges for AI Ethics

The Covid-19 pandemics is forcing us to address some global challenges concerning human well-being and fundamental rights protection. This panel presentation explores ethically ambivalent roles that AI plays in connection with two additional global challenges: (1) climate warming and (2) threats to international peace.

  1. AI has a significant carbon footprint. Should one set quantitative limits to the energy consumption required for AI model training? And if so, how must one distribute AI carbon quotas among States, businesses, and research? Should one limit the collection of user data to feed into data-hungry AI systems? And who should be in charge of deciding which data to collect, preserve or get rid of for the sake of environmental protection?
  2. An AI arms race is well under its way, ranging from the development of autonomous weapons systems to the development of AI systems for discovering software vulnerabilities and waging cyber-conflicts. Should the weaponization of AI be internationally regulated? And if so, how to interpret and apply within this domain human rights, humanitarian principles and the UN fundamental goal of preserving world peace and stability? This panel presentation is rounded out by looking at EU efforts to cope with some of these global ethical issues.

Yi Zeng: Building Ethical AI for the Human-AI Symbiotic Society

In this talk, a global landscape of AI Ethical Principles will be provided. Yi Zeng investigates on how the efforts complete each other, instead of compete with each other. He will then talk about concrete groundings of AI Ethical principles and introduce technical and social efforts in different domains. Finally, he will extend the discussion to long-term A(G)I ethical challenges and a possible positive path.


To participate, go to the following link, Password: 0dzqxqiy.

All talks will be streamed and recorded on the Digital Humanism YouTube channel. For announcements and slides see the website.

About the Series

Digital humanism deals with the complex relationship between man and machine. It acknowledges the potential of Informatics and IT. At the same time, it points to related apparent threats such as privacy violations, ethical concerns with AI, automation, and loss of jobs, and the ongoing monopolization on the Web. The Corona crisis has shown these two faces of the accelerated digitalization—we are in a crucial moment in time.

For this reason, we started a new initiative—DIGHUM lectures—with regular online events to discuss the different aspects of Digital Humanism. We will have a speaker on a specific topic (30 minutes) followed by a discussion of 30 minutes every second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 PM CEST. This crisis does seriously affect our mobility, but it also offers the possibility to participate in events from all over the world—let’s take this chance to meet virtually.

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