Technology ethics is the application of ethical thinking to the practical concerns of technology.
The reason technology ethics is growing in prominence is that new technologies give us more power to act, which means that we have to make choices we didn't have to make before. While in the past our actions were involuntarily constrained by our weakness, now, with so much technological power, we have to learn how to be voluntarily constrained by our judgment: our ethics.
AI has a fundamentally ethical aspect. And we need to not mistake efficiency for morality – just because something is more efficient does not mean that it is morally better, though often efficiency is a dramatic benefit to humanity. For example, people can make more efficient weapons but that does not mean they are good or will be used for good.
Lots of organizations are exploring AI with a goal in mind that is not necessarily the best goal for everyone. They are looking for something good, whether it is making sense of large datasets or improving advertising. But is that ultimately the best use for the technology? Could we perhaps apply it instead to social issues such as the best way to structure an economy or the best way to promote human flourishing? There are lots of good uses of AI, but are we really aiming towards those good uses, or are we aiming towards lower goods?
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