The V AMMCS International Conference

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | August 18-23, 2019

AMMCS 2019 Plenary Talk

Putting Ethical AI to the Vote

Ariel Procaccia (Carnegie Mellon University)

I will present the “virtual democracy” framework for the design of ethical AI. In a nutshell, the framework consists of three steps: first, collect preferences from voters on example dilemmas; second, learn models of their preferences, which generalize to any (previously unseen) dilemma; and third, at runtime, predict the voters’ preferences on the current dilemma, and aggregate these virtual “votes” using a voting rule to reach a decision. I will focus on two instantiations of this approach: a proof-of concept system that decides ethical dilemmas potentially faced by autonomous vehicles, and a decision support tool designed to help a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit allocate food donations to recipient organizations. These projects bridge AI, social choice theory, statistics, and human-computer interaction; I will discuss challenges in all of these areas.
About the speaker: Ariel Procaccia is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He works on a broad and dynamic set of problems related to AI, algorithms, economics, and society. His distinctions include the Social Choice and Welfare Prize (2020), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award (2015), and a Sloan Research Fellowship (2015). To make his research accessible to the public, he has founded the not-for-profit websites and, and has written op-eds for the Washington Post, Wired, and Bloomberg (where he is a regular contributor).