A Shared Fate: Key Takeaways from the Risk and Artificial Intelligence Workshop

How can we put a spotlight on issues of AI risks to start conversations without causing unnecessary panic?

Another way to manage such surprises in risk assessment is by over-resourcing. Thus, when allocating manpower, budget and attention, risk managers cannot operate on lean optimisation models. National risk portfolios should therefore be treated like investment portfolios. This means that projects can be systematically prioritised, even when there may not be any guarantee that the crisis situations calling for these projects to be implemented will actually materialise.

By removing humans from the knowledge-creation process, AI is fundamentally altering the way we experience “knowing” things.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

As AI removes more sources of human agency, might we lose meaning and purpose in our lives?

Social pressures resulting from resentment against AI adoption and development may lead to a backlash against AI and to social conflict more generally. Potential sources of discontent are varied, and could include the aforementioned widening of inequality due to unequal adoption of AI. A participant suggested that a more interesting source of discontent could arise from an increasing sense of “disenchantment” with life due to human functions being ever-increasingly driven by technology. He said this could result in a sense of aimlessness and alienation. He observed that many youth joining terrorist groups are in fact seeking a sense of meaning in their lives, which they cannot find in consumeristic secular societies seemingly unable to provide its members with a higher purpose. If AI increasingly removes sources of human agency, it may exacerbate this sense of alienation.

Conversations about the ethics of AI currently lag way behind its technical development.

The ethical and the technical

Establishing international AI norms requires a shared language, shared risks and ultimately, a shared fate.

Establishing international norms will be challenging, given the plurality of cultures and languages in the world. Some participants pointed out that it is not impossible, as evinced by a range of existing international norms. Others, however, felt sceptical about the notion of successful international cooperation. One participant noted that there is no international agreement on values related to a range of issues, from human to animal rights, and we are unlikely to reach a consensus in the foreseeable future. Yet another participant observed that “East” and “West” often do not see eye to eye, especially when it comes to cyber conflict regulation. He observed that many in the West erroneously believe that governments in the East utilise technology to control their populations. Nonetheless, he said Singapore could and should seek to facilitate the emergence of a distinct viewpoint on AI cooperation amidst the clash in Eastern and Western discourse.

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Centre for Strategic Futures

Centre for Strategic Futures

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