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Truly global AI ethics and culture extend well beyond abstract discussions
By Jibu Elias  |  Jan 16, 2024
Truly global AI ethics and culture extend well beyond abstract discussions
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Discussions about implementing frameworks governing AI ethics and culture must be more inclusive and culturally sensitive by focusing on non-Western perspectives that emphasize pragmatic, real-world concerns, stresses tech entrepreneur and AI ethics expert Jibu Elias.

KERALA, INDIA - Over the past five years or so, I have observed a fascinating pattern emerging each time I introduce myself as an artificial intelligence (AI) researcher. When I converse with Westerners, their immediate response often combines intrigue and concern inspired in part by the dystopian sci-fi realms of Terminators and the sentient machines of The Matrix. Conversely, those from the Global South - including India and many other parts of Asia - are more likely to steer the conversation towards more pragmatic concerns. Their questions frequently orbit around the impact of AI on job security - not just their own, but often with a forward-looking concern for their children's careers in an AI-infused future.

This dichotomy extends to ethical discussions concerning AI - including classic trolley problems, privacy debates, and the integration of artificial general intelligence into modern society. These discussions vividly illustrate how cultural backgrounds deeply influence people's perspective on AI - underscoring that culture not only colors people’s daily lives, but also shapes their understanding and expectations of AI's ethical implications.

With AI’s growing influence in key sectors like healthcare, governance, and banking, the need is pressing to scrutinize the ethical framework guiding these systems. The post-ChatGPT era has given rise to a proliferation of discourse around AI ethics, but too often these discussions only skim the surface of the most relevant topics and are overshadowed by existential fears or reduced to oversimplified narratives. 

As the world ushers in an era of strong AI models, cultural considerations are becoming an increasingly complex challenge intertwined with the AI ethics framework. The rest of this article will cover the current state of AI ethics, ethical and cultural myopia in the field, and the diversity conundrum, and describes why taking a culturally inclusive approach to A

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