Imperial College Intelligent Systems and Networks Group deputy head Jeremy Pitt is working to endow algorithms with a sense of ethics to address major societal problems. His work is predicated on eight design principles for the self-governance of common resources put forth by Nobel Prize-winning political and economic scientist Elinor Ostrom.
Shared resources, such as water, can be preserved using rules by which people regulate their own behavior for the common good, Ostrom says. Ostrom's principles include defined boundaries, accessible conflict resolution mechanisms, effective monitoring, and graduated sanctions.
As cognitive computing systems raise concerns about removing human sensibilities from decision-making, Pitt believes algorithms can be developed with ethical capabilities.
Artificial-intelligence techniques have aided Pitt's work over the past three years, as he tries to convert Ostrom's principles from natural language into protocols represented in event calculus, a computer language for reasoning about actions and events. Pitt's research team now has a version of event calculus that is compatible computationally with all existing event-recognition systems, and capable of processing tens of thousands of events per second.
Eventually, the team hopes to create algorithms capable of making ethical decisions in areas such as resource allocation and dispute mediation.
From CIO UK Magazine
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