News  |    |  June 2, 2021

Why ‘Ethics as a Service’ is a game changer for tech

News blog post by Helena Ward. Published on the Ethical Intelligence website.


Just as companies might require Software as a Service, Data as a Service or Content as a Service, companies are increasingly seeking out ‘Ethics as a Service’ – but what exactly is it?

‘Ethics as a Service’ is a term recently coined by the academic paper ‘Ethics as a Service: a pragmatic operationalisation of AI Ethics’. In a nutshell, it’s the provision of ethical assistance, advice or guidance into AI development, use and design. 

Floridi argues that despite limits to current ethical guidelines, and the failures of tools set out to implement them, these shortcomings can be overcome by grounding Ethics as a Service.

Recent developments in AI have sparked a proliferation of ethical principles and guidelines. But the mechanisms in place currently governing AI have proven insufficient in their protection of end-users. We have ethical guidelines, but there is a significant gap between these ethical principles and their operalisation in AI systems. Simply put, these principles aren’t being put into practice. So, what can we do? How can ethics be successfully embedded into AI design, implementation and use? [ . . . ]