The ethics of our AI-enabled future

People could be forgiven for thinking that the Google event in San Francisco last week would be about new devices and the Android mobile operating system’s latest iteration. The annual ritual is, after all, one of the touchstones of the tech industry. But they turned out to be wrong. It wasn’t about Google’s new Pixel phones. Nor was it about the Home smart speaker. It was about the connective tissue binding them—Google Assistant, the company’s artificial intelligence (AI), a beefed up version of a prior attempt, Google Now. And that raises a number of questions that are proliferating increasingly at the intersection of technology and ethics. AI routines running under the hood of various digital services and products, and on personal computing devices—think Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana—have been commonplace…


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