I remember the times when I was a young child. Everything seems new the whole world was on my feet and I carried on to experience life which each step I made. In this world when I struggled, humble, and fall, I learned to stand up and walk on because this is what keeps us moving and if do not move we will be stuck in our life and this becomes worse and worst over time.
In this time you made two experiences. The one that people laugh on you and point a finger when you fall and on the other hand the helping hand guiding you through the process why you have fallen.
With one example you can say it all: When you are young and you want to touch the stove your mum will say "Do not touch !" and then you try to reach out again and again. Likely 95% of us will have the experience that Mummy will take you away under protest or will give you a clap on your hand which is very painful.
The other way round the situation is that Mummy takes your hand and slowly nearing the stove until you feel it's hot.
What is the reason for acting in different ways in the same situation? Finally, you can say it depends on the experience your mother has done in her own life.
The question is can we set up a rule set to have the common sense to treat this situation? Is there a right or wrong in either one or in both ways to do? Is there a kind of ethic that can make a decision over it?
How to define ethics?
Ethics is the way to define role models in which a situation is clear to submit to the process of morality, integrity, honesty, and trust. Morality starts when you feel something is not the right handled. For example, is it correct if you the only person contains a virus mutation in your body which immunize you, to kill you for the reason having a vaccine for the entire human race? I bet there are people like your parents, friends (and they are immune because they protect themselves by masks and other methods) who would say never you should die for a vaccine. Imagine the surgery is ending in your death because its a part of your brain they have to extract.
Now you have two different morality situations, first, those who want to protect you and risk a pandemic with millions of dead bodies and those who do not care about you and want to stop the pandemic because they have seen their friends and family dying.
At least if you know this circumstance you can become the third morality instant in this scenario - would you kill yourself to rescue the entire humanity?
This belongs to how integer you feel to the world you living in. On the one hand, you see people surviving protecting themselves on the other hand you see the virus one it is in the body in nonimmune persons they will immediately die.
In this case, a question of ethical correctness is rising. Last but not least people always want to find a solution which is fine with your own morality and integrity. And ethic rises because of the demand to find a solution which is satisfying everyone by taking care of the complexity of a morality decision.
In a way in this example, it is easy for you to understand all three sides but it's hard to make a decision. In the first example with your mummy and the stove, it sounds logical and morality correct that she doesn't have to slap you. That is ethically correct and will be accepted by everyone who knows about no matter which race, culture, or political system you coming from. It's a simple term of understanding because pain is an experience likely all of us want to avoid if it is not for fun (think about S/M community or other abstracts but this is also a common sense by the participations)
In our second example, another main point is necessary to find an ethical solution: Honesty and trust. Can you trust the Dr. said to extract the vaccine from the mutant virus you have necessary to die? Could it be possible that they will find a method for the next few years where they can do - without you have to die? Will the pandemic kill more people the time you wait then now if you know you can protect yourself from getting sick?
You will be in a situation if people recognize you are the only survivor of highly deadly virus they will hunt you because they will argue why can you sleep well when you know because of you million die?
I guess this sounds logical to you but as we see on the Covid19 problem people act differently than the logic. 99,996 percent have to suffer under rules to prevent 0.004 percent of all humans. Is this from a moral point of view correct? Is it true and we can trust that they say this virus is dangerous? Is it fair to say this virus is a killer virus?
And now we have the other side round: Is it fair to decide killing one person to rescue millions of lives which are not able to protect themselves?
Ethics is a complex system which depends on one than more request to define an ethic rule. For example, would you agree the ten commandments are ethically correct? You will say some are yes / some are not. Depending on your life experience, believe, and wishes you are following. Do not kill anybody sounds ethical correct and if no one killing someone you would suggest war is a better game.
But in this case, killing is surviving, not by war, by a natural disaster. From the beginning of human life, it was necessary for humankind to kill, but it was not to kill each other. If you kill someone to ease the pain because he would die even without your help, is the morality satisfied in you by understanding you helped shorten suffering and painful death?
This for example was a long road discussion and in our culture, it seems ethically correct, but still, in the world, they let people suffer.
Making it even more complex, ask yourself, is it right to decide the end has come for your dog?
Can a digital world help us defining rules of ethics or is the digital world itself an ethical problem?
In our pandemic problem the choice of the correct ethic point of view depends on how much informations we have:
How many people are infected and died immediately?
How many people are infected and died after a short time?
How many people are infected and died after a long time?
How many people are not infected and can live in a community protecting themselves?
How many people are in a community and do not have a shelter where they are protected from the virus?
How many people are immune no matter the reason?
How many of them will be ready to be studied?
If there is only one person immune to all you met and count digitalisation will maybe the only way we can exactly say because of worldwide communication still is available. So you can get informations if someone like the only infected person is somewhere in Africa, Europe or in America. But if it is at least only one person who is immune, what can a machine learning code decide?
Simulation of the situation!
If we have all the data named above would the machine come to the solution we have to wait another 3 years until we can make a surgery which doesn't kill you? Can it make suggestions and emulations on how we can survive these 3 years without a vaccine?
And at least can it decide if it is ethically correct to save one life against millions?
These are the borders of artificial intelligence. And this is the danger zone. The decision is also lead by the code base of the human-created for this. We know this when it comes to the point of autonomous vehicles. Is a car affected by a circumstance of a crash if it would crash into a group of people or kill one child if it has to make a decision saving the driver not crashing in a front wall bypassing by the left side or right side and its too late to break?
The car will say saving 5 lives is better than 1. But if these are 100 years old people and the child on the right is 4 years, does it change the ethic?
Another big problem: The owner of the data and the output machine learning has done!
What if the result doesn't satisfy the opinion of whom, who decides to use AI or machine learning programs because the result is against his expectations? Will, he hides the truth and leads into a wrong ethic by saying "The machine tells us to,..."
Is it possible to imagine a world where only robots, machines, and computers take decision and acts because they can't build a morality or conclusion by feelings and instincts?
Is it ethical correct that we become vicitims of our own logic we created in AI ?
How to prevent us from misusing ethics?
If we want to change the way how we create ethics and use it in the correct way we have to understand that ethics is firstly a vote. A vote which is not closed by an interest group. It's your personal vote you make anonymously, all on your own. This means, in our pandemic case, everyone has to vote.
The decision will contain 3 types of value to vote for:
Kill the immune to extract a vaccine
Wait another 3 years until a surgery not causing in dead is ready
None of this
We will have to make it clear that everyone has the same information. No doctor, no other will have more information he could hide. Everyone who has an opinion about or an idea could publish it on a public platform free from censoring and without a discussion tree or social media link. So everyone must make a mindset independently and anonymously. But we have a basket full of ideas and opinions. The opinions people can post must be constructive and not emotional. They should explain what is the reason for their opinion or idea.
Through AI we can now easily compare million of votes and can simulate different situations.
This scenario will presented on the voting platform and the voters make a final decision for one of the scenarios. This will lead to an ethically correct way because the voters are not influenced, except the knowledge of the situation, which is honest and trustable.
Ethics in Business
Now you understand ethics how will this affect your daily life in business?
It is on you as a company CEO how many people you will involve in decisions and let them vote for the scenery. This will be creating a ruleset that you can implement for example with smart contracts into your blockchain that is tracking your business. You can create a ruleset where you define what kind of customers you will serve. If you use only materials which not harming the environment and make it to an ordering rule in your entire company structure. Ethics standard you create for the best working environment in your human resource.
As you see ethical standards a point where you take responsibility through your own morality. But ethical standards also created as common sense otherwise we never would have come that far in society and inventions.
Ethics begins always with education
The more you learn the complexity of humans and their thoughts about situations and the difference between their thoughts and their real actions, the more information you get to decide which ethics rules are necessary and which are obsolete. For example, you have too many ethics, a short decision could become worse because the process of decision needs too long. But if you have an ethic check on a computational machine learning program, it could be very fast, and than ethic is a must-have not a could be.
This is the challenge always in regulations, how many countries you know who are not ruling in ethic but more in a way that it depends on the mood of the leader. Look at Trump, Putin, Kim Yong Ung, Macron, and so on.
So we need rules defining the trust in machines and define how the machines creating trust. But this can only be defined in a consensus, not by a working group, or some involved people. This is a decision everyone must have a vote.
Ethics - the hardest way - but always in time the keeper of a fairer world and more peace in it.