Generative AI Talk Series Session 1 - Navigating the Ethics of AI with Prof. Luciano Floridi

May 30, 2023
Karina Kosmukhambetova

This is not a fight between the good people and the bad people, the business people, the government people, the academic people. It is something that we need to address as humanity. Now, like <...> climate change, we need to get together to solve it. It is a problem that we have, because like climate change, technology is also our own making, and so we, as humanity, can make a difference.

- Prof. Luciano Floridi,

Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford and soon-to-be Founding Director of Yale University's Digital Ethics Center

Ever since its mainstream release in late 2022, AI in general and generative AI in particular never stopped dominating the headlines. This powerful technology definitely offers a glimpse of the future - but is it bright? And what risks and opportunities does it pose to our cause to build a future worth living around the globe?

We aspire to tackle these and other questions in the Generative AI Talk Series, hosted by the GIZ Data Lab and Data Service Center (DSC). Over the course of several events, we will meet recognised authorities on different spheres and aspects of AI to understand the tech's inner workings, estimate its impact, address accompanying issues and discuss its potential implementation into international development cooperation.

We kicked off the series on Wednesday, May 17th, with Mr. Albert Engel, Head of Sectoral Department, setting the stage by emphasising the importance of keeping up to date with AI to ensure the efficiency and the high ethical standard of our work. His introduction flowed seamlessly into the interview with Professor Luciano Floridi, professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford and soon-to-be Founding Director of Yale University's Digital Ethics Center.

Floridi is best known for his work on two areas of philosophical research: the philosophy of information and information ethics (also known as digital ethics or computer ethics), for which he received many awards, including the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Italy’s most prestigious honour. According to Scopus, Floridi was the most cited living philosopher in the world in 2020. Floridi's work has profoundly impacted the field of digital ethics and the philosophy and ethics of AI and has helped establish them as distinct and important areas of inquiry. He has written more than 300 papers on the subject. He has edited many books as well, and his "The Onlife Manifesto – Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era" is the most successful book published by Springer, with almost 1 Million accesses. He has recently co-edited a book “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development Goals” (2023) that explicitly deals with AI’s potential for advancing UN’s Sustainable Development Goals identifying possible challenges and opportunities.

In this conversation we have gathered valuable insights on how to navigate the terrain of AI ethics, debunked common prejudices that border on science fiction and witnessed Prof. Floridi answer a question from the notorious ChatGPT itself.

Please stay tuned for the upcoming installments of this talk series - we will not keep you waiting!