ai artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence: Respect for dignity must play a role

Artificial intelligence: Muslim teachings must also play a role on the phenomenon in the context of ethics and responsibility.

(Islamic Times) – Artificial intelligences are intelligent systems capable of solving complex tasks in a very short time. The development of these systems has made tremendous progress in recent years and especially in the last 6 months, and it is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world. By Dr Cemil Şahinöz

The history of AI dates to the 1950s when the first experiments were conducted to develop machines capable of performing human-like tasks. In the 1980s, AI began to evolve from a purely theoretical discipline to a practical application. Advances in computer power and algorithms made it possible for AI-based systems to be used in a variety of fields, from speech recognition to image recognition to autonomous navigation.

Foto: Drew Ditty Graham, Unsplash

AI is a challenge to human dignity

Today, AI is ubiquitous and has permeated many areas of daily life. It is used in the automotive industry to develop self-driving cars, in medicine to diagnose and treat diseases, in law to analyse legal judgments, and in finance to make investment decisions.

AI systems can also be used in the development of intelligent assistants and virtual agents that can help us in our everyday lives.

However, the rapid development of AI has also raised many ethical questions. The possibility that AI-based systems can have unforeseen consequences that are not in the user’s best interests is no longer fiction like in films like Star Wars. This fact has therefore led to debates about how AI systems should be developed and deployed.

While some argue that AI systems that take over certain aspects of human life pose a threat to human dignity, others believe that AI systems offer an opportunity to improve people’s lives and advance society.

Photo: Anna Jahn, Unsplash

Reflections from Islamic ethics

Islamic ethics can make an important contribution in this context. For in the field of ethics, there is a long tradition of ethical reflection and discussion in Islam. Above all, Islamic ethics emphasises the importance of fairness, justice and humanity in dealing with other people. These values can also be applied to the development and use of AI systems.

An important aspect of Islamic ethics in the context of AI is the responsibility of the developers and users of AI systems. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Verily, each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Bukhari, 7132) In another hadith, it is said that the one who opens a good path will be rewarded for it and he will also be given the reward of those who act on that path.

At the same time, a sin is attributed to the one who opens a bad path. And he too is attributed a share in the sins of those who walk on that bad path. (Muslim, Zekat, 69; Nesai, Zekat, 64)

This means that every human being is responsible for his or her actions and that those who develop and use AI systems are also responsible for their effects. Such awareness can lead to a more responsible use of technology. The goal is then not to multiply the chapter, but to use technology to make people’s lives easier in a positive sense.

In this sense, Islam also emphasises the importance of justice and equal opportunities, and these values can be applied to the development and use of AI systems.

It is important to ensure that AI systems do not enable discrimination based on origin, gender, religion or other factors. AI systems should therefore be fair and equitable. So far, unfortunately, this can be easily circumvented, and AI can be tricked.

Consequently, this also implies respect for human dignity. Islam emphasises the dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of their origin or social status. Applied to AI development, this would mean that AI systems should be developed in a way that respects the dignity and rights of human beings. Whether this can be achieved in times of capitalist AI development remains to be seen.

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We need transparency and publicity

At this point, another problem in the current development becomes apparent: the lack of transparency and openness. AI systems should be developed and used in such a way that they are transparent and comprehensible for all users.

But this then also means that the functioning of AI systems should be disclosed so that users can understand how decisions are made and what data is used. This transparency is currently also completely lacking. Everything the AI puts out is accepted as true, without any questioning.

Because of these issues, Elon Musk and other investors recently called for the creation of commissions to at least advise AI development before more gets out of control. Ethics commissions and control mechanisms should therefore ensure that AI systems are developed and used in accordance with ethical and moral standards.

These committees should consist of experts who are able to evaluate AI systems and ensure that they do not cause harm or violate universally accepted ethical standards.

Muslim researchers should therefore include Islamic ethics in discussions about AI systems. By focusing on the values of responsibility, humanity, dignity, transparency, justice and morality, Muslim research can help ensure that AI technology promotes the well-being of society rather than endangering it.

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