Door: Thao Phan, Jake Goldenfein, Declan Kuch, Monique Mann

“What does ‘AI ethics’ do? Who does it serve? What is its purpose? If we ask those invested
in questions of technology and social, political, and environmental justice, or those
engaged in on the ground inquiry with communities affected by automated decisionmaking, or working inside of regulatory institutions, the answer we might expect is
‘nothing at all.’ The fast-moving wave of critique that defined the ‘‘tech lash’’ is now being
subsumed by an even larger wave of what Elettra Bietti calls ‘‘ethics bashing.’’ Where
the tech lash centered on exposing the bad behavior of some of the world’s largest tech
corporations, this next wave addresses the rise of ‘ethics’ as a new industrial agenda,
focusing on actions such as the establishment of AI ethics boards, hiring AI ethics teams,
and funding AI ethics research. Critics have fairly interpreted these actions as efforts to
instrumentalize ethics, to reduce it to another form of industrial capital, or to co-opt
and capture researchers as part of efforts to control public narratives.”