Proportionality Principle for the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

This presentation explores the principle of proportionality as a possible solution to unresolved problems pertaining to the tensions among principles in various ethical frameworks for AI. Conceptual and procedural divergences in the sets of principles reveal uncertainty as to which ethical principles should be prioritized and how conflicts between them should be resolved. Moreover, there are externalities of employing the currently dominant AI methods, in particular for the environment. The principle of proportionality and a framework of tests of necessity, desirability, and suitability can address some of the underlying issues and to ensure that other societal priorities are well taken into account. It is argued that at least in certain scenarios the perceived tensions can be false dichotomies. Proportionality presents a set of conditions to satisfy to justify usage of certain AI methods, which can be further expanded to justifying using AI systems as such for a particular purpose.