TECH FIRMS MOVE TO PUT ETHICAL GUARD RAILS AROUND AI
ONE DAY LAST summer, Microsoft’s director of artificial intelligence research, Eric Horvitz, activated the Autopilot function of his Tesla sedan. The car steered itself down a curving road near Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington, freeing his mind to better focus on a call with a nonprofit he had cofounded around the ethics and governance of AI. Then, he says, Tesla’s algorithms let him down.
“The car didn’t center itself exactly right,” Horvitz recalls. Both tires on the driver’s side of the vehicle nicked a raised yellow curb marking the center line, and shredded. Horvitz had to grab the wheel to pull his crippled car back into the lane. He was unharmed, but the vehicle left the scene on the back of a truck, with its rear suspension damaged. Its driver left affirmed in his belief that companies deploying AI must consider new ethical and safety challenges.