Ethical Principles in AI: The Diversity of Approaches Masks a Unifying Truth

From the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University: “(…) this white paper and its associated data visualization compare the contents of thirty-six prominent AI principles documents side-by-side.”

It is clearly an admirable endeavour. Note that: a simultaneously proliferating diversity of (re)sources and aggregation around key points reflects and illustrates more than just the organisational or technological properties (i.e. metrics) and qualities (e.g. affective, ambiguous factors) of this context.

If the usefulness provided by any conceptual map is a function of the extent to which that description is an abbreviated abstraction and encoding of that which is described, we might also question what is missing, offset or displaced here and what is it about the context that might be inadvertently captured as a conspicuous absence? The difference and distance between the facts (as objects) described and their description provides utility (information) and value (knowledge) as leverage but also highlights that the central object around which this organisational system gravitates is precisely the absence of a central object, that is – of unity. It is not all that difficult to perceive or comprehend but remains significantly unacknowledged across most surveys and is hardly unique to this one instance of systems analysis or organisational mapping.

Another way in which aspects of the domain are inadvertently captured (and beyond arbitrary or emergent taxonomies) is that the production of information, entropy and complexity that constructively and recursively replicates, amplifies and necessitates more information, entropy and complexity is the resonant information-processing systems “sweet spot” that itself drives a hyper-inflating technological metamorphosis of which artificial intelligence is a uniquely salient instance. The absence of representational unification in – and as – analysis is a necessary property and symptomatic vacuum of an underlying logic that drives (and unifies!) both technological drift and all associated (partial) explanatory cartographies; including this one.

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