Ethics Sheets for AI Tasks

ACL 2022  ·  Saif Mohammad ·

Several high-profile events, such as the mass testing of emotion recognition systems on vulnerable sub-populations and using question answering systems to make moral judgments, have highlighted how technology will often lead to more adverse outcomes for those that are already marginalized. At issue here are not just individual systems and datasets, but also the AI tasks themselves. In this position paper, I make a case for thinking about ethical considerations not just at the level of individual models and datasets, but also at the level of AI tasks. I will present a new form of such an effort, Ethics Sheets for AI Tasks, dedicated to fleshing out the assumptions and ethical considerations hidden in how a task is commonly framed and in the choices we make regarding the data, method, and evaluation. I will also present a template for ethics sheets with 50 ethical considerations, using the task of emotion recognition as a running example. Ethics sheets are a mechanism to engage with and document ethical considerations before building datasets and systems. Similar to survey articles, a small number of carefully created ethics sheets can serve numerous researchers and developers.

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