Business and Ethics

Seattle U in the news: Launch of free online course in ethics and AI receives prominent coverage in The Seattle Times

February 11, 2020

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The course for businesses is the first step in a Microsoft-funded initiative to merge ethics and technology education at Seattle U

Read the Times story here

From the story: 

The future of artificial intelligence (AI) is here: self-driving cars, grocery-delivering drones and voice assistants like Alexa that control more and more of our lives, from the locks on our front doors to the temperatures of our homes. But as AI permeates everyday life, what about the ethics and morality of the systems? For example, should an autonomous vehicle swerve into a pedestrian or stay its course when facing a collision?

These questions plague technology companies as they develop AI at a clip outpacing government regulation, and have led Seattle University to develop a new ethics course for the public.

Launched last week, the free, online course for businesses is the first step in a Microsoft-funded initiative to merge ethics and technology education at the Jesuit university.

The initiative was spawned by an August 2018 meeting between Microsoft president Brad Smith and Seattle University administrators, in which the tech company promised $2.5 million toward the construction of the school’s new engineering building. The conversation quickly veered into a lengthy discussion about ethical issues around AI development, such as fairness and accountability of tech companies and their workers, said Michael Quinn, the dean of the university’s College of Science and Engineering.

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