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Gerd Leonhard on AI and Digital Ethics

It’s been ten years now since I came up with my thesis that Technology is Not Enough. That ethics is a good operating system to help us debug not only our technology but also our society. And so it makes me very happy to find other travelers on the same journey, especially if they are further ahead than me 😉

This is Gerd Leonhard’s latest short film sharing some thoughts on his #1 speaking topic: humans versus/with machines, artificial intelligence and the future of humanity in a world where machines can hear, see, speak, learn and ‘think’.

On the one hand, artificial intelligence (AI) clearly has the capacity to improve our lives in pretty much every aspect, from energy to medical to smart cities; on the other end, it could fundamentally change who we are as humans, and what we think of as ‘human’. It could be a great destroyer of jobs but it could also free us from unsatisfying routines. But if machines become truly ‘intelligent’ what will be left for us to do… you may ask.

I think it will all come down to what I call digital ethics i.e. how will we use technology to our collective human benefit (i.e. embrace it but don’t become it), and how will we deal with the yet mostly unknown externalities caused by exponential technological change. Technology will have almost unlimited power in less than 20 years, at which point the key question will be WHY and WHO, not if or how. Do we need a global digital ethics counsel on AI, and if so, how would we realize it?

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