Earth has provided all of us with the resources necessary to, in the most basic sense, survive. But human civilization has allowed for our interactions, our livelihoods, to develop in an unprecedented manner. And this is only the beginning, with Artificial Intelligence driving the next generation of society. But are the two — our planet and AI — related? And how can we ensure that the growth of one does not destroy the other?
Hi there, everyone! My name is Kourosh Alexander Arfania, although I tend to go by Kory for ease of pronunciation and communication. I live in Southern California and am currently a senior in high school, which has been quite a unique experience considering the outbreak of COVID-19 last year. During my free time, I love to go on therapeutic runs, listen to BLACKPINK, and fill out these college applications! Just kidding. But I am very excited to be a part of the Inspirit AI Ambassador program, as I am confident in its ability to provide me with unique exposure to this field! Artificial Intelligence has become one of the most invigorating concentrations in computer science to me; I truly believe that the implications of this technology, across all facets of society, are essential to our development. However, I am fully aware of the concerns as well, and am equally as excited to explore the ethics behind AI systems throughout this program!
My AI Scholars program was responsible for this confidence I now have in pursuing computer science, and concentrating in AI, as a future undergraduate student. It was incredible to work directly with data and the Python language to comprehend, analyze, and implement algorithms, creating computer vision, classifications, and prediction systems along the way. The power an AI developer has is immense and fill me with joy. I initially worked with Eric Bradford for the first half of the session, but joined Nathan Dalal’s cohort for the second half to work on our project: the revision of the COMPAS-algorithm. This system has been used by numerous courts to predict the recidivism, or risk of an individual trying for bail to commit another crime. However, through inherent and systemic racial bias in the data used to train this model, it has perpetuated concerning behaviors; by exploring different classification models, as well as manipulations to the parameters utilized by the system, we were able to create a system that better equated the risk levels for all individuals, regardless of race! It was incredible, and still fills me with satisfaction in knowing that I have a foothold in the future of ethical AI development.
The various environmental ethics that surround the implementation of AI systems are complex but necessary to understand, and will be the main focus of this blog series. Bias, transparency, and energy consumption will all be addressed and analyzed. Being that I already have some experience in researching the environmental effects of computing systems, through my International Baccalaureate extended essay, I hope to use my knowledge as a means to best prepare this informative, accessible source of information! No ambiguous, illegible scholarly journals are necessary in attempting to learn a complex area of study. The culmination of information present in this blog will mitigate that need effectively, empowering you to educate yourself and make a difference.
I hope that all students interested in AI read this blog, regardless of their specific goals in the field! Ethics are integral in allowing a developer to put their best foot-forward towards creating innovative solutions to pressing issues in a global society. Without acknowledging inherit bias, implications of these works, or how to best preserve safety, AI is substantially weakened. As developers, we must take it upon ourselves to best understand these underlying weaknesses and mitigate them effectively — this blog will be that resource for many.
Ultimately, this blog will provide anyone with the opportunity to learn more about ethics in AI. Artificial Intelligence is integral to our future, but equally as important is the coder, developer, and tester — the back-level operation of AI. With the right set of tools, anyone can be empowered to make change through this facet of technology. As a writer, as well as a student with experience in AI, I know how important it is to hear others in the field and learn from their understanding of these topics. I hope that my blog will help with this communication and dissemination of information, able to reach a large number of prospective AI students just like me!
Kourosh Arfania is a Student Ambassador in the Inspirit AI Student Ambassadors Program. Inspirit AI is a pre-collegiate enrichment program that exposes curious high school students globally to AI through live online classes. Learn more at https://www.inspiritai.com/.