Ethics for AI driven Info-age

We are said to have entered a post-truth era. Journalism is in danger of being overwhelmed by rogue politics and communication technology powerd by AI that can accelerate the spread of misinformation, lies, and false claims along with several good things . This has led to the death of ethical journalism and consequently jeopardised the functioning of our democracy. Some place the blame on the new technology while forgetting its malicious use by humans to further their interest. Now social media is not merely passive technology like knife that can be used to do good or commit a crime . Scholars have invited us to factor in its seductive nature and the bottom-line priorities of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and twitter. Unfortunately, these platforms have become chief agents of circulation and spread of bias, bigotry, and deciet.

We are facing communication crises today. Although, we can easily fact check on the Internet with assistance of several fact check sites , we still lazily and blindly accept everything that is dished to us. Because we do not care, these truth telling sites in the web can do nothing. Besides, the rise of rogue politics has led to the censorship of critical voices and thought . This has led to wider circulation of lies, deciet and falsehood. Although, platforms like Facebook have the tool to shut falsehood , it does not do so allowing falsehood to parade as truth. This dissemination of falsehood along with truth confuse people and even lead them into error. The use of stealth industry has made it easy for falsehood to mascarade as truth.

With growing AI, we are going to be weaponising disinformation. The fact that our safety net is dying has to raise several eye brows. Recent open letter by Elon Musk and other AI enthusiasts have raised concerns about moving further with more powerful AI thanChat GPT-4 research and have pleaded AI labs to stop their research for at least six months. The letter has created firestorm and already there are claims that some of the signatories were fake and that several otheres who had signed have backed out on their support. The concern expressed is noble as it is about safety protocols for advanced AI designs more powerful than Chat GPT-4. But there are those who think that this imagined apocalyptic scenario is a bit of an exegeration. Some even think that it is because humans abuse their intelligence, humans naturally think that AI also will abuse its intelligence. There is no doubt that we need ethical AI research and use. Perhaps, we need new ways of thinking ethics as AI is abandoning making by thinking and is calling us us think by making. This means we have the challenge to think through making. This suggests that we need an ever evolving ethics with the evolving of AI.

It is our ethics that has the catching up to do. Maybe we have the challenge to use disclaimers that clearly take responsibility for the output of AI products and information that it produces, publishes and circulates. Disclaimers do create a distance which otherwise is missing. Such a distantiation will enable we us to take responsibility to critically decipher the information and thus choose true from false that is mascarading as true. In the post-truth era, it is not just the Government or the service providers but we as consumers of the information has the responsibility to fact check the information that we are consuming. We no longer can be passive consumers of information but the challenge to critically and actively consume the same.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao