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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies how to balance the economic value created by artificial intelligence (AI) and ethical values. Economics and ethics both offer important perspectives on human society, but they do so from two different viewpoints: the central focus of economics is how the price system in the economy values resources; the central focus of ethics is the moral evaluation of actions in the society. The rise of AI forces humanity to confront new areas in which ethical values and economic value conflict, raising the question of what direction of technological progress is ultimately desirable for society. One crucial area is the effects of AI and related forms of automation on labor markets, which may lead to substantial increases in inequality unless mitigating policy actions are taken or progress is actively steered in a direction that complements human labor. Additional areas of conflict arise when AI systems optimize narrow market value but disregard broader ethical values and thus impose externalities on society, for example, when AI systems engage in bias and discrimination, hack the human brain, and increasingly reduce human autonomy.

Keywords: economic value, artificial intelligence, ethical values, economics, technological progress, automation, labor markets, human labor, AI systems

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