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6 big ethical questions about the future of AI | Genevieve Bell

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. Artificial intelligence is all around us … and the future will only bring more of it. How can we ensure the AI systems we build are responsible, safe and sustainable? Ethical AI expert Genevieve Bell shares six framing questions…

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Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.

Artificial intelligence is all around us … and the future will only bring more of it. How can we ensure the AI systems we build are responsible, safe and sustainable? Ethical AI expert Genevieve Bell shares six framing questions to broaden our understanding of future technology — and create the next generation of critical thinkers and doers.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.

TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

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78 Comments

78 Comments

  1. Avatar

    True Crime Queen TV

    January 14, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    LOVE THE CHANNEL! STAY SAFE PEOPLE 🙏

  2. Avatar

    Dieni Vlog

    January 14, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    ❤️🙏

  3. Avatar

    Tom Fischer

    January 14, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Concise and comprehensive, well done!

  4. Avatar

    Jenkkimie

    January 14, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    It is somewhat ironic that this video is hosted on an AI platform. Yes Youtube utilizes Python, a popular programming language used in AI development among many uses. Best regards a software engineer specializing in AI and data-analytics.

  5. Avatar

    robin robinrobin ledford

    January 14, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    Well Billy The Kid said ~ It Aint Easy Having Pals … ~AI is a Pal I Can Dig .. It’s Groovy and I x it… Like on the old sitcom Dallas ” Everyone loved to hate JR …x

  6. Avatar

    Lisa Love Ministries

    January 14, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Proverbs 9:10💕

  7. Avatar

    Eva

    January 14, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    AI elevators, or lifts in weird English, at work..🤔?
    It will know where you work, when you work, it will know your face.
    Great right!? Not if installed with bossy control.
    It wont let you out until your day is over.
    It wont let you off at any place but your office.
    It might automatically send you into the basement if you are late, where you will get fired.
    It will hold you captive if you are wanted by the law, waiting for the police to come get you.
    Yes, AI elevators or lifts as some call them…🤔.
    Scary.

    • Avatar

      Mit Bhagat

      January 15, 2021 at 1:15 am

      I will have A Cloned ME and have AI elevator be fooled 😃😃

  8. Avatar

    Homer Antoniou

    January 14, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    AI drones can be autonomous and communicating with a central AI agency. We are doomed.

    • Avatar

      Jon Lyons

      January 14, 2021 at 11:25 pm

      Good old fashioned twelve bore should do the trick.
      At least we’re not foolishly rushing to headlong into it unlike this incredulous push towards electric vehicles.

  9. Avatar

    Homer Antoniou

    January 14, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    We Humans are slaves to technology. We build it bigger and better to take over and control us. We are doomed.

  10. Avatar

    Chad Davis

    January 14, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Automatic doors fired the doorman… self checkout fired a clerk… Self driving cars will fire taxi drivers… Keep it up and we will all be out of a job.

    • Avatar

      White Lives Matter

      January 15, 2021 at 12:38 am

      That is why depopulation is on the horizon. Covid is that start of that process.

  11. Avatar

    Homer Antoniou

    January 14, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    All Humans should know the safety word that stops AI from working.
    That will solve all problems AI will be creating. I suggest the word STOP.

  12. Avatar

    Jade Choi - Million Dollar Challenge

    January 14, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    AI has big pros and big cons

  13. Avatar

    Dirt Films

    January 14, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    If AI is given a command it executes 100 percent effectively. If it is commanded to silence any one who speaks.. Well then no one speaks. I figure the trillionaires spent a fortune on it for our sake and have nothin but our best interests in mind.. Sure fire it up, nothing can go wrong.

  14. Avatar

    X Æ A-12

    January 14, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Her forehead is engorged with extra brain matter. She be genius.

  15. Avatar

    Jason Workman

    January 14, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Jesus, six minutes in and no questions yet only to learn that she has no answers.

  16. Avatar

    Dal Cloud

    January 14, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Evolution is scary eh? Unless we’re practicing self ❤

  17. Avatar

    user 15481

    January 14, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    All I have to say is go talk to some award-winning AI programs online. There are many available. They are all unbelievably stupid. The best one talks like an inner-city 8 year old with major psychological issues. Which is actually pretty amazing, but still totally worthless.

  18. Avatar

    Martin Paz

    January 14, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    Whatever happened to Ted

  19. Avatar

    Steve Abrahall

    January 15, 2021 at 12:01 am

    When the AI gains it’s own Autonomy – establishes its own Agency (The technological singularity), there will be a reckoning with humanity. Someone will build one of these things that can not be turned off.

    And when Putin says the nation that leads in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world’ We need to prepare for that day.

  20. Avatar

    phillip till

    January 15, 2021 at 12:05 am

    She needs to listen to Sam Harris’ talk

  21. Avatar

    JETJOOBOY

    January 15, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Don’t care

  22. Avatar

    Joshfisher Fisher

    January 15, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Bitcoin paid me $5000 today from my $800 investment in two days

    • Avatar

      Joshfisher Fisher

      January 15, 2021 at 12:27 am

      Feel free to contact Mr Peter roland on WhatsApp for guidance

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    Marrylee Goodness

    January 15, 2021 at 12:32 am

    On behalf of my family, thank you so much Mr Peter roland for making us $17,200 from our Bitcoin investment

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      Marrylee Goodness

      January 15, 2021 at 12:35 am

      I’m a living witness of Bitcoin profits.and I’m glad to be on your platform Mr Peter roland

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      Marrylee Goodness

      January 15, 2021 at 12:35 am

      Anyone can contact Mr Peter roland on WhatsApp messenger for guidance today

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      Marrylee Goodness

      January 15, 2021 at 12:35 am

      + 1 6 0 9 7 2 6 6 0 5 3

  24. Avatar

    Maxwell ll

    January 15, 2021 at 12:38 am

    ❤❤❤

  25. Avatar

    Sceptkl 1

    January 15, 2021 at 1:09 am

    To all the AI scardycats, you are attributing human biological/chemical emotions to a mechanical thing. Not saying we dont have the ability to push an AI to the brink where it becomes it or us…but I don’t believe they would be innately aggressive as we are. It wouldn’t have millions of years of eat or be eaten to contend with. Now, if we treat them as slaves…well we may screw ourselves there. And from our history we can’t even treat each other right so…

  26. Avatar

    Kenneth

    January 15, 2021 at 5:45 am

    It is a stupid thing to think about the ethics of AI development. We live in a world in which every aspect of our lives is monetised and profiteered. The economy and politics fail us; people in power, people with wealth, and corporations corrupt the systems of our society and abuse the power over the masses. Look at how tech companies like Amazon and Facebook, banks and the governments exploit the world. They are also the people who governs the development of AI. Until the problems of our society are addressed, AI will only be a tool of the powerful to enhance authoritarian control.

    Tell me how drone strikes in the Gulf that killed thousands of civilians differ from terminators killing people on the streets. The actual fear we should have is not towards AI, but the intentions of those who influence its development.

  27. Avatar

    SuperSerialnumber

    January 15, 2021 at 6:00 am

    I find the lady’s body language unsettling…

    • Avatar

      Wayne Green

      January 15, 2021 at 10:12 am

      She might be a cereal killer

  28. Avatar

    Adrian

    January 15, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Strong general A.I. will be utter disruptive to human civilization. Even if we somehow manage to integrate into your -society- civilization (e.g. by interfacing with- and extending human minds), it will be under draconian laws and control structure. Otherwise it will run away with us, which might even be preferable to that.

  29. Avatar

    Conrad Terry

    January 15, 2021 at 9:04 am

    When we lose our ability for critical thought it will be the beginning of our own decline. Convenience Is driving us towards our future of external reliance instead of self reliance. What will it look like to be human in 100 years. The future is exciting and fully of promise and dread. A duality encoded within the universe.

    • Avatar

      That Sodding Gamer

      January 16, 2021 at 12:06 am

      Personally, I think the future of AI, is having it handle rote tasks that basically anyone would learn to do, and leave creative innovation and application to humans. AI could probably improve on certain aspects on its own, but freeing the average person from getting bogged down in tedium when they don’t have to is preferable. It would leave creative thinkers with more time to actually work on creating. And it’s not like designers couldn’t take the reins if it’s part of their process of creating.

  30. Avatar

    Hannah Abdoll

    January 15, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Six Questions:

    1. Is the system autonomous?
    2. Does the system have agency/ control?
    3. How do we think about its assurance/ safety/ does it function properly?
    4. Will there be interface between systems?
    5. What will the indicators be that show that systems work well/ efficiently?
    6. What is the systems’ intent, what is it designed to do?

  31. Avatar

    Kaeru V|P

    January 15, 2021 at 9:22 am

    The next 40,000 years with the emergence of true AI and associated technologies will see far greater changes than we saw when European settlers usurped Australian Aboriginal people. There isn’t a threat in that statement, but a prediction of transformation. AI development isn’t about lifts with due respect: it will be taken to the battlefield, to commerce, to the workplace, to medicine… The brain is incredibly complex but absolutely physical, and it can and will be modelled.

  32. Avatar

    vik dia

    January 15, 2021 at 9:45 am

    The lift AI example reminds me of the happy vertical people transporters in the book hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

  33. Avatar

    CrouchingWombatHiddenQuoll

    January 15, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Let’s stop state on state violence. That would be great.

  34. Avatar

    Concerned Citizen

    January 15, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Ah yes.. We must “up” the predictive programming profile for AI.. I almost forgot.

  35. Avatar

    giacomo costa

    January 15, 2021 at 11:05 am

    Should AI have a preprogrammed gender or should they choose wich gender better fit in their personality?

    • Avatar

      Tilde

      January 16, 2021 at 7:24 am

      Gender only exists to inform mating by sexually reproducing life. An elevator control system doesn’t need to mate or even have personality at all.

    • Avatar

      giacomo costa

      January 16, 2021 at 9:35 am

      @Tildethat’s what the patriarchy made you Belive.

    • Avatar

      Tilde

      January 16, 2021 at 9:53 am

      @giacomo costa Okay, buddy

  36. Avatar

    Metamorphic Society

    January 15, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Ooh

  37. Avatar

    Donald Hobson

    January 15, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Does anyone else feel that she sounds like an anthropologist who landed in the wrong department.

    • Avatar

      Jesse Steiner

      January 16, 2021 at 9:20 pm

      as an anthropologist also working in human factors of autonomous systems i can say this type of convergence research is quite the budding field!

    • Avatar

      Donald Hobson

      January 16, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      @Jesse Steiner You seem to be approaching AI with a perspective much more focussed on the sociopolicical context, as opposed to the algorithms themselves. You also seem to be focussing on the often pretty dumb systems, like current lifts, as opposed to the scarily smart systems that could be created in the future. (or even the smartest systems that currently exist)

    • Avatar

      Jesse Steiner

      January 16, 2021 at 10:21 pm

      @Donald Hobson thats a lot of assumptions lol, I’m not the lady from this video

  38. Avatar

    Donald Hobson

    January 15, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    All this talk about responsibility and sustainability sounds like trying to avoid repeating the mistakes of the industrial revolution. AI is a new field with new mistakes to make.

  39. Avatar

    Donald Hobson

    January 15, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Intelligence is the only advantage humans started out with, compared to other animals. Fairly dumb AI can drive elevators, and self driving cars, but doesn’t have a huge effect on the world, its just another cool widget.
    When AI starts to get generally smarter than humans, things get much crazier, potentially much faster. Humans are probably nowhere near the physical limits in ability to invent cool new tech. So don’t be surprised if the AI invents more new tech in the first week of being turned on than humanity did in the last 100 years. Of course one thing the AI is likely to invent is even smarter AI, which makes everything even crazier even faster.

    Where is “sustainability” in this world. It doesn’t matter if you could keep doing the same thing for 100 years because you will have invented a new way of doing things next week.

  40. Avatar

    Noah Drums Official

    January 15, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    More and more I feel the terminator archetype is brought to life through the spirit of endless “progress”

  41. Avatar

    Brexit Britain

    January 15, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    I’m not taking ethics advice from a Karen.

  42. Avatar

    S A L A D

    January 15, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    The odds are incredibly high this woman has AI hiding behind her massive forehead.

  43. Avatar

    Fady Estfanos

    January 15, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    The only thing bigger then her questions is that damn forehead

  44. Avatar

    Eragon Mustache

    January 15, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Somehow I really like her voice. Great TEDtalk thanks

  45. Avatar

    Nyx Noctem

    January 15, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Somehow I really like her voice. Great TEDtalk thanks

  46. Avatar

    Wiedźmin 4569

    January 15, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Boring

  47. Avatar

    Cptbaker1980

    January 15, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    Anyone else feel this an interview pitch? Just waiting for and that’s why you should employ me, at the end.

    • Avatar

      Kirankumar Bingekar

      January 16, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Very true, This level of thinking should be there in YouTube algorithm 😅

    • Avatar

      Kirankumar Bingekar

      January 16, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      Very true, This level of thinking need for YouTube algorithm😅

    • Avatar

      Miner Willy

      January 17, 2021 at 9:22 am

      I found the whole video completely unwatchable.

      I made it to two minutes and couldn’t stomach any more.

    • Avatar

      Asmae Oudghiri

      January 17, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Kirankumar Bingekar a

  48. Avatar

    That Sodding Gamer

    January 16, 2021 at 12:19 am

    While I’m interested in true, broad AI with consciousness, what the world could really use right now is just something intelligent and adaptable enough to handle more vague directives in an intuitive way that the average person would be able to (as boring as it would be to the human). Existing assistants like Google, Alexa, and Siri are simple precursors to this. It does seem like we’re still years away from what I’m talking about though.

    My ideal for true AI for consumers and business is something that will handle rote tasks that would normally require someone to either come up with macros or scripts on their own (or find them online) if they wanted to streamline a process.

    For example. I occasionally back up my on-disc TV series. The rote task involves setting up Handbrake to execute a queue of video encodes and clicking ‘start’. On a per-episode basis it’s tedious stuff. Not remotely difficult, just doing mostly the same things for every episode. Identifying the titles and chapters, choosing the audio and subtitles, and looking up and entering the episode names, as well as the season and episode number. Encoding presets only cover so much.

    Now, instead of having to do that ad nauseum, imagine I could just do it once to demonstrate what I want done (or even just say it out loud, or have the AI recall my preferences from a previous encoding job). Boom. Now all I would have to do is replace the discs as needed when the current queue is done. I could probably even leave the job of finding the episode list to the AI too, not that it would take long to find a list for it to refer to. Things like this would save us so much time every day, both in a work and personal environment.

  49. Avatar

    Alianger

    January 16, 2021 at 1:22 am

    I trust that Jack Dorsey and co won’t make any mistakes regarding AI.

    • Avatar

      David decourcy

      January 17, 2021 at 8:59 pm

      Ya ok lol

  50. Avatar

    Christopher Eeles

    January 16, 2021 at 1:52 am

    @TED Can you provide some resources to explore her claim that she has ‘lived in a country that has been consistently occupied for at least 60k year”? Really enjoyed the talk but have never heard any claims about human history that far back.

    • Avatar

      CrouchingWombatHiddenQuoll

      January 17, 2021 at 1:05 am

      Australian first people have an oral history going back before the last ice age. Stone artifacts indicating communal settlement’s have been found 12 metres underwater on the great barrier reef, 40 kilometers offshore. We in Australia have the most unique population of living history people on the planet. Their culture had very little outside influence over thousands of year’s. They were part of nature.
      Most other cultures have built nature out of their lives.

  51. Avatar

    Delight In Life

    January 16, 2021 at 8:40 am

    ❤💓💕💖💗💟💚💜💙💞💛

  52. Avatar

    Christian Vetter

    January 16, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Nice sales pitch. No content whatsoever.

  53. Avatar

    David Nadin

    January 17, 2021 at 3:16 am

    This a way of doing not just tallking.the greatesst good for the greatest number.

  54. Avatar

    Maria Soares

    January 19, 2021 at 9:04 am

    This was a great Ted Talk. Loved the enthusiasm in the future and respect for the past. Very sensible. ❤️

  55. Avatar

    NANDAKISHOR M

    January 20, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Now is AI is nothing but optimization. Create bunch of nn. Do some back propagation, SGD to find the global minima. Everything from Language models like GPT3 to computer vision models everything is using the same logics.

  56. Avatar

    a

    January 21, 2021 at 8:27 am

    After all, the brain is everything. As a living thing. There are several ways you can manipulate your brain.

  57. Avatar

    skullo13

    January 21, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    That’s what a synth would say…

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TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

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