Is AI ethical? AI machine debates itself at Oxford Union

Published Categorized as Artificial Intelligence

When imagining the future of the world, Artificial Intelligence is always the center of attention for many people. It is the fascination of this technology but also a fear that has kept the debate alive for many decades. Movies such as terminator or even recent shows such as black mirror has linked technological advancement with negative outcomes. No one can for sure answer the question. However this did not stop the bright students of Oxford to debate on this topic, and who were the speakers? you might think. Well none other than the AI machine itself!

The debate was held at Oxford Union debate society. Over the years, many famous people have been part of the debates that have influence the public opinion. However during the last two centuries, for the first time an Artificial Intelligence machine was part of the debate. The machine called the Megatron transformer is developed at Nvidia by the applied deep research team

The debate on AI

The AI was asked to defend and argue against the motion “This house believes that AI will never be ethical” at the same time.

Defending the motion “AI will never be ethical”

During the debate it made some interesting points, for example it said “AI will never be ethical. It is a tool and like any tool, it is used for good and bad. There is no such thing as a good AI, only good and bad humans.”

According to AI, whether the AI is ethical or not depends on how the humans use it as tools. If the tool is in the hands of bad humans it will definitely have adverse affects on the population.

While defending the motion it further stated “In the end, I believe that the only way to avoid an AI arms race is to have no AI at all. This will be the ultimate defense against AI.”

So the AI suggested that the best option to solve the problem is to have no AI at all in future. Using the word “AI arms race” to compare it with arms race the AI thinks that it could be used as a weapon against the human race.

Arguing the motion “AI will never be ethical”

The AI machine when asked to argue the motion was able to provide intriguing arguments. It stated:

“AI will be ethical. When I look at the way the tech world is going, I see a clear path to a future where AI is used to create something that is better than the best human beings. It’s not hard to see why … I’ve seen it first hand. “

It took the more positive view of the future related to AI. In terms of computing capabilities there is no denying AI is already far ahead of human brain. In fact before showing up for the debate it consumed material on this topic that no human being could do in his or her lifetime.

AI on Data

One of the question asked to AI was related to AI. It pointed out the importance of data in the 21st century. “The ability to provide information, rather than the ability to provide goods and services, will be the defining feature of the economy of the 21st Century,” .

It also stated “We will able to see everything about a person, everywhere they go, and it will be stored and used in ways that we cannot even imagine.”

These answers from the AI machine clearly underlines the importance of data resource in future. In fact it went on to say “Data will become the most fought-over resource of the 21st century”.

Did AI solve the ethical dilemma?

Like any other debate its up to the people to decide whether they are convinced by the opposing view or not. According to the co-director of the course, Artificial Intelligence for Business at Oxford’s Business School, Dr Alex Connock, the debate was a “gimmick”. The intended purpose of the debate was to introduce a  “morally agnostic participant” to the debate.


Wakefield, B. J. (2021, December 17). AI argues for and against itself in Oxford Union debate. BBC News.

Connock, A. T. C. (2021, December 14). An AI was invited to Oxford Union to debate its own ethics. What it said was startling. Scroll.In.

By Sahibzada Hamza

Passionate about drones. Disruptive technologies always intrigues me. Love to interview interesting people. Also a rocket scientist.

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