AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)


Module 5: Geoethics and AI

Summary

  • This module will take one week to complete
  • We will mostly be reading and discussing case studies.  There are a few short videos.

Overview

Geoethics is a relatively new field promoting the ethical behavior among geoscientists.  This field has extensive ties to both traditional ethical principles and the responsible conduct of research that we have been studying. 

As the first reading will point out and as we have discussed in prior modules, as scientists, we have a responsibility to society.  Not all members of the class are geoscientists but we are all scientists and we are all citizens of this Earth, our island home.  We need to focus on both the issues of acting ethically with respect to our fellow citizens and with respect to the Earth, focusing on sustainability for all.

Our responsibility as ethical scientists includes the need to develop AI that is both ethical in its use and ethical in its development (for example, AI can be energy intensive to train!)

Caring for our Earth

Globe in child's hands

 Image from What is Geoethics

Resources for this Module

Our main Geoethics reading will come from the following book chapter:

  • Bobrowsky P., V.S. Cronin, G. Di Capua, S.W. Kieffer, S. Peppoloni (2017). The Emerging Field of Geoethics. In: Scientific Integrity and Ethics with Applications to the Geosciences, edited by L.C. Gundersen. Special Publication American Geophysical Union, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.  
  • The chapter is available for download at the OU library

  •  The chapter is also available online for free (it is a pre-print format, double spaced). 

We will also be making use of some of the case studies in the book (see assignments below).

In addition to reading, we will use another Ethics Unwrapped video and a journal article about responsible use of AI for climate research.

Assignments

Day 1

Geoethics 

  • (45 min) Read “The Emerging Field of Geoethics.”  The two options for reading it are linked above.  

Case Studies  

Grading Declarations

OU students, don’t forget to turn in your grading declarations on canvas!  Today’s declaration is called “Module 5: Geoethics and conservation.” 

Day 2

Geoethics and AI

  • (30 min) Read the paper “AI for climate: freedom, justice, and other ethical and political challenges” 

  • (30 min) Discuss some of the AI related ethical principles brought up in this article on #general.  This could include a discussion of the idea of AI “nudging” or a discussion of the power consumption of AI simulations or any other related AI & climate topic!  Be creative and thoughtful and respond to each other also.

Case Studies and Ethical Principles 

  • (15 min) Read the Ethics Unwrapped page about the Paris agreement and climate change.  Be sure to watch the video at the end about Tangible and Abstract principles. Given that the US has recently both left and rejoined the Paris agreement, this is very timely!  Also, the entire discussion of Tangible versus Abstract is relevant to our pandemic as well.
  • (15 min) Pick one of the discussion questions from their page and discuss in #general .  Feel free to relate your discussion to the role that AI can play in this as well.  

Grading Declarations

OU students, don’t forget to turn in your grading declarations on canvas!  Today’s declaration is called “Module 5: Geoethics, AI, and climate.” 

Day 3

Geoethics

  • (45-60 min) Go to the International Associate for Promoting Geoethics‘s School of Geoethics
    • Pick at least two resources on the page to either read or watch.  Note that the paper we read on day 1 is one of their resources and doesn’t not count in your list of two.  If you prefer video over papers, it is fine to pick two videos to watch!  Likewise, if you prefer papers over video, it is ok to pick two papers.
    • Post in #general about which resources you chose and a summary of both.  If someone else chose the same resources, it is highly encouraged to reply to their post and discuss instead of just making a new post.

Case Studies and Ethical Principles 

Grading Declarations

OU students, don’t forget to turn in your grading declarations on canvas!  Today’s declaration is called “Module 5: Geoethics, AI, and communication.”