Abstract. High-profile examples of harm associated with algorithm failure and misuse have garnered significant public concern (e.g. manipulation of the democratic process, discriminatory practice in criminal justice sentencing, and bias against racial and gender categories in the labour market). The field of AI ethics refers to the literature and to the community of people interested in this space. One high-profile manifestation of this is the formation of specialist ethics councils and teams to deliberate on conundrums regarding the use, access and openness of platforms and technologies (such as social media and messaging apps, etc.). For instance, the banning of particular public figures as well as lay users for use of the services in a manner that is not acceptable has been a constant theme in the public debate. In this white paper, which is part of our Holistic AI thought experiment series, we pick up on the responsibility of the AI ethics community - or more specifically ‘AI ethicists’, by advocating that the role of the AI ethicist in the public debate comes with a responsibility to educate and inform (to generate questions and possibilities), rather than to lead and dictate (to provide answers and ideology). Our justification for this comes from our commitment to the view that the nature of public ethics should be conducted with consensus building and inclusivity in mind (mirroring the ideals of the democratic process).
Download the white paper here.