Despite the fact that artificial intelligence is already transforming everyday life, most people don’t know much about it.

Simply put, AI is a method of making software “think” intelligently like the human mind. It can make decisions using real-time data, learning and adapting as it compiles new information. Netflix’s algorithm, for example, stores and analyzes your viewing history to predict what you may be most interested in watching next. Every time Netflix suggests a movie, it uses the data it receives based on whether or not you click play to improve the next time. Soon enough, it might know your preferences better than you do.

Discussions over the ethics of technology have been going on since long before virtually everyone had a smartphone in their pocket. Some argue that technology itself is value neutral—essentially, that a given technology is only as bad or good as the intentions of the person using it. Others argue that values are built into technologies by the people who design them.

The ethics of AI is a hot topic these days. Will it make the world better for people, or create more problems than it solves? Nobody knows for sure. But technology affects nonhuman animals as well, and we would be remiss to leave them out of our considerations.

Read the rest in Fast Company:




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