Everything Is Not Terminator: An AI Hippocractic Oath

Headshot - John Weaver
John F. Weaver
Director, Corporate Department and Chair, Real Estate Practice Group and Chair, Artificial Intelligence Practice
Published: Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law
July 6, 2020

Periodically, I read opinion pieces advocating for a code of conduct governing the development of artificial intelligence (“AI”). The pieces typically recommend that developers, graduates of computer science programs, coders, etc. all sign an oath or agree to some sort of fiduciary duty before engaging in the creation of any AI application.  The thought is that as AI grows more sophisticated, its uses expand, and the applications become part of more life-critical systems, the people developing those applications should adopt greater responsibility for how they develop them. In theory, it is similar to the Hippocratic Oath, which has historically obligated physicians to uphold certain ethical standards in their medical practice.

Below, after reviewing the Hippocratic Oath, I provide some examples of the oaths proposed for AI developers before providing a recommendation of my own.

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