There is a continuous interaction between intelligent devices, AI, sensors, and people increasing by the second. The amount of data being produced, stored, and processed is changing in various aspects and the evolving smart technology is changing our daily life. All this change also brings in significant changes in the rules of law and contemporary ethics that govern us.
Do machines have morality? What law do they follow? Can they be held accountable? Law professor, Woodrow Hartzog at Northeastern University says “It’s important to realise that these machines and tools are built and trained by humans. We need to keep that fact highlighted. We can’t just blame the machines,” in a conference, titled AI, Media, and the Threat to Democracy that was held at the University.
He adds, “There are a lot of unanswered questions about artificial intelligence. However, that’s not because we don’t have the answers. We’re just asking the wrong people.” He also addressed concerns on the role computer scientists and lawmakers should play in creating laws that govern AI. To what extent should technology experts be involved in the lawmaking process, and to what extent should we create rules that exist independently of highly technical knowledge?
“Right now, there’s this sentiment—how can we expect lawmakers to create rules about artificial intelligence if they don’t even know how to use a computer?” And this concern also extends over to journalism and the use of AI in the newsroom. What if a robot writes damaging and untrue statements? Who is to be held accountable then? How much technical expertise should we expect journalists to have when they’re covering controversies in artificial intelligence? Hartzog explains, “If an AI writes something libelous, we need to look at the people who created this technology and ask: was this intentional or was this an accident? Then, we can assign blame.”
Hartzog concludes that journalists and lawmakers alike need to hold the creators of these machines accountable if they want to report and regulate artificial intelligence accurately.