The ethics of AI: Building a platform for dialogue in crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: Bringing ground-breaking projects out of the shadows

The concept of crowdfunding is emblematic of the 21st century, not only in AI but in every field. As a type of fundraising that draws small amounts of money from large multitudes of people, crowdfunding puts the power squarely into the hands of its investors. No matter how tiny the project, you can help that vision see the light of day if you believe in the cause.

Crowdfunding has paid hospital bills and taxi fares. It’s helped people raise money for missing friends and family. Crowdfunding brought us VR gaming goggles and 3D printing pens. It’s social, it’s a fantastic equalizer, and best of all, it’s inspiring. No project is too crazy.

Combining crowdfunding and AI

The strengths of crowdfunding lend themselves perfectly to AI research. Some of the strangest things you can imagine have been successfully crowdfunded on mega-platforms like Kickstarter. But we believe the partnership between crowdfunding and artificial intelligence has yet to be fully tapped.

When innovation outpaces ethics

AI is expanding at a dizzying rate. It has attractive possibilities in fields like medicine and clean energy, such as this revolutionary device that helps patients with Locked-In Syndrome communicate with the outside world, or the many AI devices that help manage the production of sustainable energy. But innovation in AI must be considered from two angles. With each new innovation in AI, we also open up new worlds in terms of ethics. As Tom Vander Ark of Forbes Magazine points out, AI is poised to upend the world we live in, affecting everything from the way we do business to the way we build communities and everything in between.

It’s possible to develop ethical AI devices – but we have to make a concerted effort

Should we feel uncomfortable about relying on AI devices instead of actual human contact to look after our seniors? What are the effects on the job market when intelligent machines start replacing humans? What about self-driving cars, or face recognition technology? What happens when self-learning AI technology starts teaching itself algorithms that humans can’t even understand themselves? And what are the potential ramifications of handing over enormous databases of personal user data to a non-sentient machine?

The risks and the benefits of AI go hand-in-hand and it’s a very fine line. AI can go where no human mind has gone before, for better or for worse. In an attempt to address the potential risks of AI while focusing on how we can ensure AI stays ethical and positive, the Future of Life Institute developed a schema that envisions what they term “value-aligned AI,” incorporating core tenets such as ethics, security and governance. This is just one example of the type of project that will be of vital importance if we are to continue developing AI devices at the same frenetic pace.

As an investor, it’s important to know what you’re putting your money into. While the aforementioned Future of Life Institute schema or the non-profit OpenAI research company act as a space to investigate the ethics of AI, huge crowdfunding websites aren’t able to integrate this level of deep discussion into their platforms. That’s where Crowdfunding.AI comes in.

Ensuring a safe and beneficial future in AI innovation

Crowdfunding.AI aims to go beyond the reach of a typical crowdfunding website by providing a platform to foster dialogue about the ethical issues behind AI projects. We believe that our targeted AI crowdfunding platform will be a crucial part of the very necessary discussions that are just starting to take a prominent position in this area of technological innovation.

You’ll never see an unethical AI project up for funding on our crowdfunding platform. In order to pass our screening process, projects must demonstrate the potential for having a positive impact on society, and creators must show us that they’ve thought about how to mitigate the inherent risks. There will be a close relationship between the developers of AI devices and the financial backers, allowing greater potential for developing ethical and productive AI devices, as well as attractive returns on investments.