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August 4, 2022

Top 10 biggest ethical dilemmas in AI

August 4, 2022

Top 10 biggest ethical dilemmas in AI

Artificial intelligence is increasingly present in our daily lives today. It plays an important role in the lives of billions of people. Sometimes unnoticed but with visible consequences, artificial intelligence is transforming society. It calls into question the human being and human values. The development of these new technologies brings many benefits, but also challenges and risks, when they are used maliciously or to exacerbate inequalities or divides. To ensure that artificial intelligence serves the common good, it is important to ask the right questions by addressing the ethical dilemmas.


The term artificial intelligence was coined in the 1950s to describe machines capable of learning and performing tasks automatically. Several definitions of AI exist. However, it is commonly accepted that machines incorporating artificial intelligence can mimic or exceed human cognitive abilities such as reasoning, analysis, detection, linguistic interaction or problem solving. These intelligent machines can demonstrate learning capabilities using machine learning or deep learning algorithms to mimic the functioning of the human brain.

The influence of AI is increasing and can be found in various fields such as health, scientific research, communications, transport, education, security and art. Companies using artificial intelligence to train their machines have access to a large amount of data, "big data", to collect and process.

Artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool to address various environmental issues. Nevertheless, several ethical dilemmas arise and need to be discussed. It is therefore important to define international and national policies and regulatory frameworks to enable emerging technologies and AI to serve humans. Every actor in society, individuals and companies, has a role to play.


"Tech for Good" literally means "technology for good". It is an initiative launched in 2018 by French President Emmanuel Macron with the aim of ensuring that technology acts for the common good. This dynamic manifests the collective awareness that "positive societal impact" must be put back at the heart of tech and the digital transformation of society. It can also be a lever to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations to make the world a better place. With the development of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, the various economic players, including those in the social economy (SSE), can see new opportunities for action.

At isahit, artificial intelligence is used to develop its digital project outsourcing platform. Thus, the startup offers an innovative and responsible solution for companies looking to outsource their digital projects (annotations of images or videos to train machines in the automotive sectorThis is not only for the employees who work on the digital platform, by having financial support for the realisation of their professional projects and their integration in the world which is becoming more and more digital.

Aware of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence and digital technology as a whole, isahit is also part of Tech For Good, which ensures that the biases of AI are reduced or even absorbed. The regulation of the use of artificial intelligence is crucial. In this way, deeply rooted stereotypical representations in our societies can be abolished and lead to a more just and equitable world in the future.

Related post: Isahit is present in the 1st mapping of startups with a positive impact on society, the economy and the environment.

Many questions around the development of artificial intelligence arise as these autonomous programs make more and more decisions in various fields. But can these decisions of the machines follow a particular ethics and which one? What are the 10 biggest ethical dilemmas presented by AI? 

What is an ethical dilemma?

An ethical dilemma is a difficult decision making situation that demands a compromise between two options that does not really align with the existing code of ethics or societal norms. 


  • AI bias: artificial intelligence systems produce biased results. Take the example of search engines explained by UNESCO. If you do a search on "greatest historical figures" in your favourite search engine, you will probably see a list of the most famous male figures in the world and few if any women highlighted. You can also do another test by searching for images on "colours for girls". The predominant colour is pink with its different shades. There are many other examples related to the representation of women in search engines, especially in digital. These are examples of stereotypes and prejudices that are deeply rooted in society. Search engine technology is not neutral. It processes and collects complex data and then prioritises results according to users' preferences and location. To ensure fairer and more relevant results, it is crucial that gender bias is reduced or avoided in the development of AI-based algorithms, in their training and in their use.
  • the autonomous car: this is a vehicle that is able to detect and analyse its environment and move around with little or no human intervention. In order to move safely, the car will capture thousands of pieces of data using its various sensors located in its interior. This data will then be processed by the car's autonomous driving computer system. The autonomous car must also be trained to understand its environment in order to be able to make decisions according to the different situations in which it may find itself.
    Everyone faces moral decisions every day. When a driver chooses to brake to avoid hitting a pedestrian, he or she is making a moral decision to pass on the risk to the pedestrian to the people in the car with them. Consider a car with damaged brakes speeding towards two individuals: a grandmother and a child. By swerving a little, one of the two people can be saved. In this situation, the car's trained algorithm will make the decision instead of the human driver. Which person should be saved? Do you think there is only one right answer in this case? The choice is difficult for the human. This is a typical dilemma that shows the importance of ethics in the development of artificial intelligence, and in technology on a larger scale.
  • Other examples of ethical dilemmas exist with the use of artificial intelligence in the fields of art or in legal systems.

To address this problem of ethical dilemmas, UNESCO has prepared a comprehensive legal document on the ethics of AI.

Top ten ethical dilemmas in AI

Ethical dilemmas are numerous, but we will be analyzing the important ones and they are as follows:


The work force is structured in such a way that when you work you are paid your wages or salary depending on the system you are into. But with the introduction of AI, we have seen a drastic decline in the need for human labor as machines are programmed to do the work humans are supposed to do, and they make a joke of the term division of labor as they can take on the jobs of 10 persons and do it faster and more effectively. This will cause a big gap in the economy of the world as wealth will only circulated among the owners of tech companies thereby creating a high rate of wealth inequality and unemployment in the society

Mistakes of Artificial intelligence:

No matter how we see it, machines do not have a mind of their own as they have been programmed to work with specific instructions and guidelines. They can’t make an on-site decision as they are not thinking beings. This will affect their output as they tend to make lots of mistakes, and in some instances they can be manipulated as they don’t know right from wrong.


We need to ask ourselves this question, will their come a time when humans will go down the lower food chain and stop being the most intelligent species on earth? The singular reason why humans are on the top of that food chain is because of our intelligence and ingenuity. So, will there be a time when machines will have the same advantage of control and higher intelligence over us and we won’t be at the helm of affairs. All these questions are a cause for concern.

Robot rights:

A point has come when the rights of robots are to be discussed, everyday new milestones are achieved in trying to model robots to think and feel like humans just like animals are lesser humans. Irrespective of the fact that this has not recorded a significant success, but the rights of robots will sooner or later be a cause for concern. Could we consider that a system is suffering when it gives a negative output? At what point do we draw the line of what is to be considered as an abuse on a robot? All these are things humans need to deliberate on.

Privacy and Surveillance:

The use of artificial intelligence has limited people’s right to privacy as there are many spywares online that can be used to spy on people’s privacy without their consent. Governments make use of AI surveillance and facial recognitions to run their intelligence agency and this infringes on people’s privacy right

Misinformation/fake news:

Most misinformation and fake news are peddled online. There is an online term known as “deep fakes”, whereby human images are cloned to look and talk like that particular individual. This deep fake was only made possible with the use of artificial intelligence and this is causing more harm than good because individuals could be falsely accused. . The bizarre thing about this “deep fakes” is that it looks real, so it will take an expert to know that the images or videos were cloned. 

Racist robots/ AI bias:

Artificial intelligence is programmed by humans and humans have their religious, social and moral biases. This can be intentionally and unintentionally imbibed in the use of AI. AIs are programmed to do exactly what they are told, so they can be used as an instrument of hate speeches, racist commentaries, and ethnic marginalization if care is not taken.


In this period when countries are building nuclear weapons of mass destruction, how do we regulate what is out there. We need to invest more on cyber security and regulations that will regulate hackers, and use of weapons of mass destruction so as to save and preserve mankind. This is because the fight is against systems that are proving to be smarter, and more capable than us by orders of magnitude.


As we enjoy the advantages that come with AI. Let’s not forget one of the major disadvantages which is creation of unemployment. As we invent ways to automate jobs, we should also invent ways to create more jobs for humans so that the economy will be balanced. Imagine what will happen when robots take over the whole workforce, what will then be the faith of humans? 

Environmental impact:

The carbons that computers emit are 17 times higher than what an average human being emits in a year. In this era of creating awareness of climate change, we need to reconsider our choices. Irrespective of the fact that AI has been very effective in solving human problems, we need to set our priorities right in that aspect.

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