Artificial Intelligence and the Purpose of Social Systems

Proceedings of the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI Ethics and Society (AIES '21), May 19-21, 2021, Virtual Event, USA.

10 Pages Posted: 25 May 2021

See all articles by Sebastian Benthall

Sebastian Benthall

New York University School of Law

Jake Goldenfein

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Date Written: May 21, 2021

Abstract

The law and ethics of Western democratic states have their basis in liberalism. This extends to regulation and ethical discussion of technology and businesses doing data processing. Liberalism relies on the privacy and autonomy of individuals, their ordering through a public market, and, more recently, a measure of equality guaranteed by the state. We argue that these forms of regulation and ethical analysis are largely incompatible with the techno-political and techno-economic dimensions of artificial intelligence. By analyzing liberal regulatory solutions in the form of privacy and data protection, regulation of public markets, and fairness in AI, we expose how the data economy and artificial intelligence have transcended liberal legal imagination. Organizations use artificial intelligence to exceed the bounded rationality of individuals and each other. This has led to the private consolidation of markets and an unequal hierarchy of control operating mainly for the purpose of shareholder value. An artificial intelligence will be only as ethical as the purpose of the social system that operates it. Inspired by the science of artificial life as an alternative to artificial intelligence, we consider data intermediaries: sociotechnical systems composed of individuals associated around collectively pursued purposes. An attention cooperative, that prioritizes its incoming and outgoing data flows, is one model of a social system that could form and maintain its own autonomous purpose.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Liberalism, Collectives, Social Systems, Privacy, Markets, Platforms, Cybernetics

Suggested Citation

Benthall, Sebastian and Goldenfein, Jake, Artificial Intelligence and the Purpose of Social Systems (May 21, 2021). Proceedings of the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI Ethics and Society (AIES '21), May 19-21, 2021, Virtual Event, USA., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3850456

Sebastian Benthall

New York University School of Law ( email )

Jake Goldenfein (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Melbourne, VIC 3010
Australia

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