Members in the Media
From: Slate

How to Be Good


If you encountered a robot on the street, you would want it to give you the right of way instead of just rolling over your foot, right? Making room for a passerby is simple, but it’s just one of the many human “values” that we seek to make our increasingly prolific machine creations obey.

Computer scientists like Stuart Russell and technologists in companies building advanced artificial intelligence platforms say that they want to see A.I. “provably aligned with human values.” A scientist at the A.I. startup Anki recently assured Elon Musk and others that A.I. will be “friend”—not “foe.”

Russell goes on to argue that machines could learn approximations of human values from observing us and the cultural and media products we produce. Of course, the question then becomes: Which human values? Psychologists Joseph Henrich, Steven Heine, and Ara Norenzayan recently published a study showing that broad claims about basic human psychology and behavior generated from experiments held in Western, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (or WEIRD) societies do not generalize outside of them.

Henrich and his colleagues are not alone; social psychologists have long pointed to the empirical existence of cultural differences in thoughts and opinions about the nature of life between the West and the Rest. Not to fear, Russell counters. “[M]achines should err on the side of doing nothing in areas where there’s a conflict of values. … If you want to have a domestic robot in your house, it has to share a pretty good cross-section of human values.” Russell believes that a machine can observe how humans make complex tradeoffs and learn from our example. But he may want to brush up on his A.I. history.

Read the whole story: Slate

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