Over the past few years, I have been invited to participate in a variety of podcasts. Hosts from all over the world have asked me to share my thoughts on ethics, artificial intelligence, data protection, sustainability or my personal career with their listeners. Podcasts are a great opportunity for me to present my views and convictions in a structured and clearly understandable way; and as I keep saying, to show that ethics can be fun! At the same time, every single one of these talks has always been an eye opener for myself .
Here is a selection that shows the diversity of voices who have invited me, and the broad range of topics we talk about:
The «Tech Humanist Show» by Kate O’Neill
Kate O’Neill helps people and businesses prepare for an increasingly technology-driven future with her signature strategic optimism. On her Tech Humanist Show, we discussed the connections between AI ethics and climate change, the legitimacy of carbon offsets, to the ethical aspects of contact tracing. Furthermore, I advocate using AI in contexts where it does not violate people’s moral rights. When you apply machine learning to humans, it is full of biases and violates privacy, etc. Many of these problems don’t arise if you use the same technology in a natural science context, where you monitor patterns of oceans and clouds, for example, or monitor species extinctions. Animals have no need for privacy and no right to it. There are enough use cases with which real-world problems can be solved.
The Engati Cx Podcast
Engati is an international no-code chatbot platform from India. In their Engati CX Podcast, they interview voices from around the world. With Kimberly Misquitta, I talked about the role of AI in spreading fake news, the trust we place in machines, biases in algorithms, AI detecting emotions, and whether we should limit access to AI. Instead of restricting access to AI, I argue for certification standards or an audit system for AI. This avoids the thorny issue of who should have access to AI. Instead, one defines what the technology must meet in order to be released to the broader public.
The Volume Podcast by Kunumi
Brazilian AI Lab Kunumi invited me to their Volume Podcast, dedicated to «Reshaping the Present for a Reshaped Future.» For once, this was not about factual topics, but about my personal career. Filipe Forattini wanted to know how I became who I am today. I tell how I went from being an elementary school feminist who protested against handicrafts classes for girls, to a teenager critical of capitalism, and then to a bored business student. And how, after a few years in the academic ivory tower, I managed to turn my «excessive sense of justice» into my profession.
The Ethics for a Changing World Podcast
Ethics for a Changing World is a student-created podcast that brings discussions about the ethical, political, and legal implications of technological change into the public sphere. Using Facebook as an example, I talked with Paddy Stephens about the connection between business model and corporate culture, the different premises of AI and ethics in research (gaining knowledge) and in practice (making profit), and the difference between companies that ‘really’ have ethics in their DNA and those that drop the subject once it no longer pays.
«Are you a Robot?» – a podcast by EthicsGrade
«Are you a Robot?» is a podcast about technology and ethics run by EthicsGrade, an ESG ratings agency with a special focus on technology governance. Demetrios Brinkmann got on my case with challenging questions about almost everything I work on. Among other things, we discussed the ethical challenge of Clubhouse. For example, about whether the fact that Clubhouse is only available to iPhone users at the time is discriminatory. I think: requiring everyone to have access to Clubhouse implies that if you don’t have access, you’re missing out on a lot. It makes Clubhouse bigger than it is.
«Between Two Bots» with Mark van Rijmenam and Dan Turchin
The «Between Two Bots» podcast is hosted by Mark van Rijmenam, also known as The Digital Speaker, and Dan Turchin, co-founder and CEO of PeopleReign. In this podcast, «data revolutionaries» in the field of AI ethics have their say. We talked about whether Big Tech has too much influence on bodies like the EU High Level Expert Group on AI. My opinion: if I had a choice between Big Tech sitting at the table or lobbying for their business interests behind closed doors, I’d rather have them at the table.
«Pondering AI» with Kimberly Nevala
Pondering AI looks at how artificial intelligence enhances and challenges our humanity. Kimberly Nevala invites «thought leaders, researchers, doers, and activists» who are ensuring that our AI-enabled future puts people and the environment first. Together, we talked about new stakeholders in the context of AI, misconceptions about the role of women ethicists, and how best to raise awareness of ethics among leaders, among other topics. Plus, I talk about the unfortunate coincidence of the Silicon Valley mentality that demands scalability and speed, and the opacity and uncontrollability of AI’s impact.
Women in Consulting
Janet Whitelaw-Jones invited me to their great «Women in Consulting» podcast to talk about my career (which I consider to be a rather haphazard trajectory). I talked to her how I stayed in academia for too long and how I have zero regrets about leaving academia. I mention the liberation I feel when expressing my opinion online vs publishing as an academic.
I argue that the advantage of coming from academia is that you are used to living on a low budget, so you can afford to become a consultant. It’s not that difficult to earn as little money as you get as a post-doc. And you bring along a lot of resilience if you have survived in academia. And I share my most important advice to those starting their consulting business, namely: Know what you’re worth!
Can you make money with ethics? Should you make money with ethics? The relationship between ethics and profits is often at the core of business ethics.
I have a pretty straightforward opinion on this matter: Yes, it’s ok to make money with ethics, as long as you continue to be ethical once you don’t make money with it anymore.
Utopias, Dystopias and Today’s Technology
In this podcast with the lenghty title «AI Ethics and Democracy: Debating Algorithm-Mediated Direct Democracy and the Democratization of AI» Johannes Castner and I discuss the dangerous intersection of AI and democracy. In a nutshell, I would say, «Keep the two things apart.» We should not use algorithms for democratic decision-making. Algorithms represent a binary view of democracy (yes or no). In reality, democracy is at least as much about exchanging arguments as it is about making decisions.
Kate O’Neill is a global thought leader, author, keynote speaker, strategic advisor, and «tech humanist». We talked about connecting the dots between AI ethics, privacy, climate change, CSR, ESG, contact tracing, carbon offsetting and much more, including quite some laughter.
As part of his series “Interviews with global leaders in the field of Artificial Intelligence” I spoke with Johan Steyn about AI ethics, privacy, contact tracing, buiness ethics, CSR, etc. – live from my kitchen table.