Season 4, Post 27: The ethics of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) lacks no shortage of critics. Stephen Hawking has warned that it could “spell the end of the human race” while Elon Musk is fearful…

Season 4, Post 27: The ethics of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) lacks no shortage of critics. Stephen Hawking has warned that it could “spell the end of the human race” while Elon Musk is fearful of its “scary outcomes.” Regardless, the use of AI solutions to help drive how we interact – whether we realise it or not – is increasingly ubiquitous. For a more measured response to its critics, your author had the privileged opportunity to discuss the ethics of AI recently in a call with the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) of a leading US tech business.

Part of the CPO role in this instance involves chairing the firm’s AI Ethics Board. Its purpose is to “build trust” with both internal and external stakeholders. Trust in any company’s brand and its ability to ‘do right’ needs to endure – irrespective of any future regulatory developments concerning AI – in the view of our interviewee. A principles-based approach lies at the foundations of this company’s stance on AI. We concur with the notion that AI should be fair, unbiased, robust and conscious of privacy concerns.

Education is crucial, we were told. When creating AI tools, the key question is not just ‘can’ and ‘how’ might technology help solve any given problem, but ‘should’ it even attempt to? Every application should also be tested for bias (both intentional and unintentional) prior to deployment. Of course, once underlying clients are provided with the toolkit, say, for designing algorithms, then training at this level needs to happen too.

Engagement with regulators also matters. We believe that the holistic approach outlined by our interviewee makes intuitive sense. Clearly there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to designing principles for AI, but a scenario of “regulatory fragmentation” – where different countries take potentially opposing stances on important topics – would, inevitably, be not only damaging but also dangerous. Our hope is that such an enlightened world view becomes increasingly entrenched, as much as anything to ensure the most effective future deployment of AI. 

7 July 2022​​​​

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Alex Gunz, Fund Manager



The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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