Digital assistant ethics: Programming your personal digital assistant with caution

Image credit

Digital assistant ethics: Programming your personal digital assistant with caution

Digital assistant ethics: Programming your personal digital assistant with caution

Subheading text
Next-generation personal digital assistants will change our lives, but they will have to be programmed with caution
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • December 9, 2021

    Post text

    Among the ultimate forms of artificial intelligence (AI) is envisaged as a digital assistant that completely understands its user and knows everything about them.

    Our future digital assistants will answer all our questions and make suggestions on every aspect of our daily lives. In fact, they will be so integral to our lives that technologists are referring to them as our alter ego. 

    Digital assistant ethics context

    As AI continues to infiltrate our working and private lives, and eventually making innumerable decisions on our behalf, many technologists are concerned about the ethical development of AI assistants. 

    Microsoft is among the leaders in AI development and has made the conscious decision to be open about what AI they are building and giving others access to the necessary tools to build their own AI solutions. The company says it wants to democratize AI to empower many people, but at the same time, AI applications must be developed in responsible ways to the benefit of all. 

    Disruptive impact 

    When we have digital assistants that can see, hear, talk, and understand us, we will have to be able to trust them. They will be our daily companions and know more about us than anybody else. They will also have to be programmed to know what information about us needs to stay private.

    Personal digital agents will be a depository for sensitive personal data. Given the value of this data, the use of digital assistants will give birth to enormous opportunities for entities with malicious intent. This will lead to intensified cybersecurity measures to combat these threats.

    Digital assistants will be less disruptive than smartphones. Unlike a phone screen, which requires our attention when making a call or placing an order, talking to an AI assistant like Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa will free up our vision, so we can give them an order to call someone or order something online while we engage in everyday tasks like driving our cars or doing the laundry. 

    Digital assistant ethics 

    Digital assistant ethics can be used to:

    • Ensure that AI projects, systems and services move forward in responsible ways to benefit society.
    • Ensure that technologists who develop AI products share a broad commitment to ensure that AI assistants are not programmed with inherent biases and stereotypes. 
    • Ensure that AI is highly trainable to be trustworthy and respond to its user rather than act as an independent entity.
    • Ensure that AI is optimized to understand what humans want and to respond in predictable ways.

    Questions to comment on

    • Are you looking forward to your own digital assistant who can act as your constant companion?
    • Do you think people will trust their digital assistants enough to confide in them?

    Insight references

    The following popular and institutional links were referenced for this insight: