Fairness – universally understood but hotly contested
While different people, communities, organisations and even countries might have slightly different perspectives on fairness, there are already well established legal frameworks which set the minimum bar for fairness in Australia.
In Australia the ‘pub test’ is a metaphorical gauge of how the general public views a particular issue. If something doesn’t pass the ‘pub test’ the patrons in the local pub would find the issue unpalatable. There is nothing particularly scientific about it and journalists often use the phrase when critiquing political policy. But if it is true that we all possess an innate moral sense of fairness then the ‘pub test’ has some validity.
(If you don’t think your boss will sign off on you going to actual pubs to test your AI product than just rephrase it as ‘user centred design’).
Fairness is contextual but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a set of universally acceptable standards of fairness which we all understand and to try to adhere to. The moral sense of fairness emerges out of the natural conflict we have been self-interest and community interest. Feelings of guilt, disgust, shame, embarrassment and empathy can be strong motivators to behave fairly, but AI’s are yet to be blessed with such attributes. We therefore need ‘bake in’ to our AIs the community understanding of fairness and then to appropriately test it within the community where it will be used. This would also mean that if we are importing an AI from outside our community, we would need to ensure it meets our standards of fairness.