AI Ethics: Where Consciousness Meets Technology
Ethical Understanding and Responsibility in AI Use, Development and Implementation
Funny that my journey to AI ikigai started with ethics. Perhaps it should have been obvious, considering my spiritual teaching and strong commitment to ethics over my career.
But I was seeking passion and purpose, and ethics seemed a good place to start. And Lord knows, AI comes with a host of issues every user should be aware of, not to mention those who consider integrating it into their business affairs. So bear with me while I shine a light on how I see them.
For what it’s worth
Perhaps you’ve never thought much about ethics, especially your own. But those inner standards go a long way toward guiding you where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
It’s especially important in dealing with AI, because not only do they open the door to many exciting possibilities to consider as you move toward your vision and build your new life. AI also comes built in with perils that can waylay your plans and thwart your efforts.
For as AI systems advance, they can manifest concerning biases and harms, often unintentionally through poor data practices or lack of oversight, as well as through programmer bias, negligence and outright malicious intent. These can create significant challenges for businesses, individuals and society alike. And for the seeker of ikigai, they can manifest a nightmare of epic proportions, forcing us down paths not of our choosing.
Therefore it’s crucial at all levels to be aware of inherent ethical issues like:
- Biased or unfair outputs that reflect flawed training data, algorithms or other issues
- Lack of transparency into how outputs are determined
- Harmful real-world impacts that were not adequately assessed or avoided
Worse, artificial general intelligence (AGI) exceeding human capabilities is just around the corner. Some employees at OpenAI (developer of ChatGPT) have raised the alarm that they have opened Pandora’s box, and already have developed an advanced AI technology that poses a credible threat to the future of humanity.
Ethical standards need to be established and followed NOW, but even that may not help. The cat is out of the bag. We and future generations may forever pay the price.
Unfortunately, governments lag behind in working with industry to establish such standards, resulting in a patchwork quilt of mostly voluntary practices and restrictions that fail to achieve a unified approach reflecting the common danger facing all of humanity.
Instead, it may be up to us to get involved and speak up to insure AI works for our expansion and not at our expense.
This is a situation that should be of concern to us all. But the public is just now beginning to be aware of the risks, and public debate has yet to begin.
This does not mean we should turn away from its promising possibilities. Nevertheless, we must use all our powers to raise awareness of the problem, not to foment fear but to expand consciousness and catalyze the ethical advancement of all people. Only then can we minimize the chance we bring the Apocalypse down upon our heads.
As a former practicing lawyer, I recognize that we walk in the grey area between what is legal and what is right. As a spiritual guide who taught the ways of inner development and the exercise of free will with responsibility and restraint, I find myself torn. For part of me wants to forever close Pandora’s box. Another seeks to tame the beast and use this exciting technology to build a better tomorrow through ikigai.
I will continue to work to shed light on these issues and our need to turn away from the precipice. In the meantime, I will also do my best to infuse your use and adoption of artificial intelligence with greater consciousness, so that you can do your part to ensure the highest ethical standards are applied as you join the AI revolution.
So let us move forward together and consider some of the issues AI raises now, even while cultivating awareness of the potential AGI menace that lurks in the shadows.
Recognizing Ethical Issues in AI Systems
Besides sounding the alarm and calling for immediate action to address the AGI peril, we must also learn to identify ethical issues when they surface in AI systems:
- Notice erroneous, wrongful, hallucinatory (when they make stuff up), discriminatory or prejudicial outputs
- Question the reasoning behind AI-generated decisions (often the AI can’t give it)
- Flag responses that lack empathy or disregard human dignity
- Report unethical real-world consequences resulting from an AI system
Addressing Ethical Shortcomings
The burden of such matters falls squarely upon the end user. Once ethical gaps become apparent, one must either accept it and pretend it didn’t happen, or take steps to address it including:
- Providing feedback to AI developers on issues observed
- Refusing to rely on or act upon unethical or less than optimal AI models or output
- Calling for improved standards, development practices, training data, transparency, and impact assessments
- Pounding the table to advocate for stronger AI ethical policies and governance
Turning Inward for Wisdom and Growth
Yet despite our growing awareness of AI’s negative potential, such situations offer the awakened user great opportunities for personal growth. For they challenge us to not only find a way to get the output we need, but also to expand ourselves in the process.
To find our ikigai, not to mention getting greatest personal benefit from our AI experience, we must see AI as more than a cool way to make our work better. We must also see it as a catalyst to grow ourselves.
Reflecting on generated output, as well as our own reactions and beliefs during AI interactions, can reveal:
- Unstated dreams and desires for what we want our lives to bring, and the kind of world we want to live them in
- Inner conditions, life constraints and personality quirks in us or others that influence our actions, the choices we make, and whether and how we pursue our dreams
- Unconscious biases and assumptions needing examination
- Response patterns triggered by deeply-held hurts, beliefs and biases
- Insights into our core values and principles
- Clarification of our talents and responsibilities unique to this technology era
- The dark side of our human nature that needs to be moderated, triggered by desires to get for ourselves without even considering the implications for what we want to build, much less the others impacted as we do
- The intentions with which we conduct our affairs, and the inner standards by which we do so
- And for seekers of ikigai, AI engagement opens a window into ourselves, the beliefs and desires that motivate us, and our resonance with the different possibilities it reveals.
Seen in such a light, AI becomes not only a tool for work, convenience or productivity, but also a means of personal and spiritual expansion.
By cultivating self-awareness and unleashing our best selves in tandem with demanding more ethical AI practices, all led by the voice that whispers inside, we can chart a conscious path to navigate the darkness ahead as we find and travel the paths meant just for us.
Now that you’ve got the proper ethical perspective, is time to begin your journey of AI empowerment and lay the foundations upon which to build. Read on to learn more.
I bid you Godspeed.