Register Lecture: Right to strike when your boss sells AI to the military?
Principles AND work for Google – it's been known to happen
AI is revolutionising our roads, workplaces, homes – and warfare. And not everybody is happy about it.
2018 saw 3,000 Googlers protest against their company’s participation in a US Department of Defense project - Maven - using TensorFlow to build a computer-vision system for drones to identify humans. Googlers told CEO Sundar Pichai Google: “Should not be in the business of war.”
Google not only withdrew from Maven but challenged other tech firms building AI to follow its lead and abstain from AI projects that “avoids abuse and harmful outcomes.”
The Googlers’ protest broke new ground: an unlikely act of political defiance and consciousness in a sector usually light on ethical baggage and Googlers rose up in other areas, too, protesting against the construction of a censored search engine for China and sexual harassment.
But it was Google’s actions over AI that earned the criticism of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos who vowed to continue working with the US DoD.
What’s an engineer who’s building general-purpose AI to do in 2019? Do you the have right to address the moral effects of what you build and hold your employer to account? Can you justify your work in terms of “national defense”? Or do you only think about the free workplace coffee and great options?
Join us in this moral maze with lawyer, investigator and writer Cori Crider who has studied drone attacks on the ground in Yemen and met family members of those killed in strikes.
A specialist in the ethics of mass data sifting and human rights in counter terrorism, Cori will explore how the seemingly innocent AI code you're punching may be putting us on a slippery slope to automated war. Also, why the military and politicians must resist the temptation to remove humans from the decision-making process of unleashing drones.
She'll put the debate over AI in warfare in its wider context that techies should consider: how, from policing to immigration, problematic AI often gets beta-tested on the weak and the poor first.
Join Cori and Reg readers on February 6, 2019, at the Rugby Tavern, 19 Great James St, London, WC1N 3ES. Doors will be open from 18:30 with Cori taking the floor at 19:00. An audience question-and-answer session will follow a quick refreshment break.
Tickets and details are here. ®