Artificial intelligence brings with it not only opportunities for a brave new world, but also socio-moral risks. The list of potential problem areas is long: Algorithms in human resources management to select a candidate, sometimes after the skin color. Voters are organized into filter bubbles and targeted politically influenced. China is preparing the perfect surveillance state, a “Social Credit System”. Sex robot have a rape button.

about The author University of St. Gallen, Thomas Beschorner, Born in 1970, is a Professor of business ethics and Director of the Institute for business ethics at the University of St. Gallen. He is the author of numerous publications in the field of economic and business ethics. He is editor of the book “Management and responsibility before and after the 90 minutes. Economic and social responsibility in professional football”.

The big IT companies are expected to these and many other moral problems that result from your products, for a long time to be known. With a delay, these questions are now also in society and in politics. And here it becomes clear that The processing of pressing the future, you can’t leave questions only and primary computer core, but they also require social science and Humanities Expertise. Finally, there is the question of how we want to be Tomorrow and the day after Tomorrow.

No conditions of Facebook

The new “Institute for ethics in Artificial intelligence” at the Technical University of Munich, which was announced in the last week, seems like a welcome Initiative. However, the project has a connotation: of all things, Facebook, the Financier of this new research Institute. With the equivalent of 6.6 million euros, the company intends to promote the research.

Who’s screaming now “purchased science”, is likely to be wrong. The TU Munich was quickly clear that there are no obligations on the part of Facebook, but it is a question of “to Fund independent research.” “Otherwise, I would not do it at all”, said Christoph Lütge, designated as the Director of the new Institute. He sees the thing as a business to a mutual advantage. “Win-Win-Situation” is the name of the then new German and with the economic conceptual apparatus. One side of the deal is clear: The technical University of Munich is happy about abundant research resources: the Win.

And what the advantage is for the lender? The Facebook funds are not a donation for the public welfare, but an investment in your own business. It’s less about publicity or a reputation gain for Facebook, the cooperation with the University. The economic advantage for Facebook is much more likely to lie in the targeted research in the new Institute. When it comes to the development of the “guidelines (…) for the identification of and response to ethical questions of Artificial intelligence for society, industry and legislators”.

TU Munich

the legislature appears in the announcement as the addressee of research results, and one might suspect therefore, that there should be “hard” regulatory thinking. The actual thrust of the research is, however, clarified others, such as the future Director of the Institute in a conversation with Netzpolitik.org : the development of the “ethical guidelines”, as these were better than laws. The need to address the fears of the population around the topic of artificial intelligence, “and that can make ethics better than legal regulation.”

What do you think?

firstly, it is not a question of any diffuse “concerns” of the population, but rather concrete problems that require solutions. Secondly, this opinion reflects quite clearly that on a lot of research, but not about everything. Regulatory regulations by the legislator. “Ethical guidelines” and “soft” commitments to meet, so it seems even before the beginning of the research entitled. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and CEO Sheryl Sandberg it forward: Win.

Because, according to the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding the use of Facebook data for political purposes, it was already tight for Facebook. With a hearing of Zuckerberg in the us Congress, the policy set a Signal: Gets her, so it was not only Facebook, the moral problems of your products not in the handle, we could solve the problems about regulations and certain business models and practices sanction.

like without government interference

company no regulations. In order to avoid you, there is a need for abfedernder solutions, the calm society and politics. And the solution to avoid political regulations is not rare, this is: entrepreneurial self-commitment. The attachment to certain moral values and principles – whether as a single company or as industry – to create the necessary legitimacy and trust again. With the help of science. And without government interference.

The promotion of research institutes by Internet giants like Facebook or Google (the “Institute for Internet and society” at the Humboldt University of Berlin funded) not only raises questions of the independence of science. It also shows a reluctance and lack of willingness to invest in the public sector in the focus of a digital ethics.

The Federal government has decided, in their in November, adopted “strategy of Artificial intelligence” the creation of at least 100 new professorships in the field of AI. You may be curious as to whether you want to take into account also social and humanistic orientations in the field of reasonable, perhaps even an “Institute for ethics in Artificial intelligence”. Otherwise we leave the value questions about the present and the future of the company and its University partners.