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Ethics in Artificial Intelligence: A disjoint between knowing and acting


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While artificial intelligence (AI) is changing our daily lives, its impacts and risks to privacy remain one of the top agendas in its developments. As AI frequently relies on massive and seemingly irrelevant data to discover insights that are sometimes unexpected, the technology is at odds with the traditional data protection principles of data minimisation and transparency. Aware of the challenge, data protection authorities (DPAs) are looking for a paradigm shift in how personal data privacy may be respected in the AI era. Now many of them have started to advocate the idea of the ethical use of AI. There is evidence, however, to suggest that there is a disjoint between knowing the importance of ethics and acting ethically. This paper describes the current efforts by DPAs in promoting ethics in AI, discusses the flux concept of ethics, suggests the reasons behind the disjoint between the ethical ‘knowing’ and ‘acting’, and proposes how education, promotion of desired behaviours and a cross-functional approach may help bridge the gap.
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Keywords: AI; behaviour; data protection; ethical decision-making; ethics; privacy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Adjunct Associate Professor, Law and Technology Centre, Department of Law at HKU

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • Journal of Data Protection & Privacy publishes in-depth, peer-reviewed articles, case studies and applied research on all aspects of data protection, information security and privacy issues across the European Union and other jurisdictions, in the wake of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the biggest change in data protection and privacy for two decades.
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