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Communications of the ACM

Computing ethics

A Call to Action


the words 'Raise Your Voice' in the shape of a bullhorn

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Digital technologies for learning, health, politics, and commerce have enriched the world. Digital heroes like Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Batya Friedman, Alan Kay, JCR Licklider, and Joe Weizenbaum have blazed trails. Yet there is trouble. We depend upon software that nobody totally understands. We are vulnerable to cyberterrorism. Privacy is overrun by surveillance capitalism.7 Totalitarian control advances. Daily Internet news matching our beliefs makes it difficult to tell true from false. People are addicted to devices. Jobs disappear without social safety nets. Digital leviathans threaten to control all commerce. Our values are threatened.

There are risks of premature use of AI in domains such as health, criminal justice, senior care, and warfare. Much current AI is unreliable, without common sense, deceptive in hiding that it is an algorithm, unable to explain decisions, unjust, neither accountable nor responsible, and untrustworthy.


 

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