IEEE Releases Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Wellbeing with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems for Public Discussion

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Aristotle explained Eudaimonia to be the practice that defines human wellbeing as the highest virtue for a society. The term translates roughly as “flourishing”, and involves conscious contemplation on ethical considerations that help define how individuals wish to live within a society. Today, IEEE has taken a major step towards highlighting these principles to the technological community and society at large with the release of the first version of Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Wellbeing with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems (EAD v1).

Launched by The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems, Ethically Aligned Design is intended to advance public discussion of how intelligent and autonomous technologies can be aligned to moral values and ethical principles that prioritize human wellbeing. This falls directly in line with the mission of The IEEE Global Initiative to ensure every technologist is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritize ethical considerations in the design and development of autonomous and intelligent systems.

The document was created by multiple committees from The IEEE Global Initiative comprised of over one hundred global thought leaders and experts in artificial intelligence, ethics, and related issues.

While Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems (AI/AS) hold great promise to bring significant benefits for humanity, it has become clear that there is more needed than greater computational power to address the deeper issues associated with these technologies. AI/AS technologies must also be aligned with our moral values and ethical principles to build societal trust and to prioritize the increase of human wellbeing as a key metric for progress in the algorithmic age.

By eliciting public commentary on Version One of Ethically Aligned Design, The IEEE Global Initiative will bring together multiple voices from the Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems (AI/AS) communities and the general public in order to identify and create broad consensus on pressing ethical issues and recommendations regarding these technologies. Ethically Aligned Design will also continue to provide the basis for recommendations from The Global Initiative to The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) for standards ideas, as in the case of the newly established IEEE P7000™ Working Group.

Input about Ethically Aligned Design should be sent by e-mail no later than 6 March 2017, and will be made publicly available via The IEEE Global Initiative’s website no later than 10 April 2017.  Details on how to submit public comments are available via Submission Guidelines on The IEEE Global Initiative’s website.

New and existing committees contributing to an updated version of Ethically Aligned Design will be featured at The IEEE Global Initiative’s face-to-face meeting at The Robert S. Strauss Center at The University of Texas at Austin on 5-6 June 2017. The meeting’s committees and participants will consider public comments received for potential inclusion in Version Two of Ethically Aligned Design to be release in the fall of 2017.

Ethically Aligned Design is available for download at The Global Initiative’s website.

For more information, or to become an Initiative member, please visit The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems websiteor contact executive director John C. Havens.