Tagged for OEG Connect: Ethics of AI

What’s of interest? Ethics of AI

Tell me more!

The Ethics of AI is a free online course created by the University of Helsinki. The course is for anyone who is interested in the ethical aspects of AI – we want to encourage people to learn what AI ethics means, what can and can’t be done to develop AI in an ethically sustainable way, and how to start thinking about AI from an ethical point of view.

Where is it?: https://ethics-of-ai.mooc.fi/?ck_subscriber_id=2143270782

This is one among many items I will regularly tag in Pinboard as oegconnect, and automatically post tagged as #OEGConnect to Mastodon. Do you know of something else we should share like this? Just reply below and we will check it out.


…and it’s using an open(-ish) license! (CC-BY-NC-SA) :upside_down_face:

Even we do that here. Basially, that is done here, so that anybody who translates, adapts the resources is not able to commercialize it putting a barrier to learning.

I empathize with the sentiment about the non-commercial use of Creative Commons licenses. Couple of points:

If somebody could create a derivative work, switch the license, and limit sharing / adaptation, THAT could potentially result in a barrier to learning. To guard against that, the share-alike (SA) restriction seems to be enough and the non-commercial (NC) restriction is not necessary. For example, Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap don’t have NC restriction, people repackage them and resell them, and these projects are doing fine. Their licensing is not a danger to the upstream content.

In general, the fewer the restrictions, the more potential for reuse exists. One could translate the work and publish it as a book. Or create an online course, maybe even a paid one. Now that one could be really hard to swallow (because somebody else is making money here and the original contributors may end up with nothing, which feels very unfair) but does it really present a barrier to learning if more people are now using the content? The original content is still available (because of the share-alike clause), so the pie isn’t getting smaller.

Also, there are unintended consequences to licensing restrictions. For example, a German court has ruled that NC licenses are for “personal use only”. In other words, the license doesn’t apply to any organizations:

So one could say, fine, then businesses cannot use it, this is great! However, schools and education nonprofits are organizations, too. And so are libraries.

Based on this court ruling, it’s fine for an individual to use NC materials, but weirdly enough it may not be OK for a (German) school to use NC materials. Or a library. Or a research institution. Or a homeschooling community.

One could say “oh well, it’s just Germany being Germany and let’s forget about them” but the trouble is, in many countries NC hasn’t been challenged in court, so there is no judicature. In my own country, for example, if an education nonprofit decides to share CC-BY-NC-SA materials and somebody challenges them in court, the education nonprofit could lose, despite doing nothing wrong. Why? Because there is no legal certainty. A local lawsuit here could end up just like it did in Germany. We just don’t know.

Licenses work not the way we WISH they worked, they are subject to the interpretation of the hundreds of courts in jurisdictions and legal traditions all around the world. And these courts can make NC licenses impossible to use for schools and libraries, the very recipients they were meant for. The intention of the NC restriction (for those who choose to use it) is fine but will it work as intended? Or will the court interpretation be different from its original intention?

CC-BY-NC is a reasonable choice if people want to ensure that nobody makes money (legally) off an author’s or a contributor’s work. Which is a sentiment I can easily empathize with. – The way I see it, however, using a license without a commercial restriction is definitely NOT a barrier to learning. In fact, it may be quite the opposite.

A few questions:

  • Perhaps somebody here has hands-on experience with the non-commercial restriction (or lack thereof) “in the wild”? Care to share?
  • Are there larger philosophical concepts to relate this debate to? How to frame this?
  • Lawyers – what’s the CC NC-related judicature in other countries? And how are things in Germany? (The article I shared is nine years old, are there new legal developments?)

Would love to hear your input and learn from your experience.

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Wow! Glad that you shared this. There is so much more to be defined and I guess this entire concept will evolve on the go. Would like to see more views and discussion on this.

Wow, thanks for the head’s up on this course, @cogdog! I plan to take advantage of it as I am working on some major AI projects for one partner.

Great stuff @cogdog !

If you like that, you may also like the AI Ethics Brief. I browse the mailing when it hits my inbox, a nice mix of consumable articles and research About | Montreal AI Ethics Institute

Hey, nice to see you here, Billy, to the chaotic mess of good conversations here (blame me for the former). Thanks for the link in kind, of which there is no shortage. Mahalo!

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