Building Bridges in Society


The EthicsNet project is dedicated to crowdsourcing examples of prosocial behaviour, as perceived by different groups of people all around the world.

Many people are trying to create clever algorithms to make artificial intelligence safer. However, algorithms are no use without data to train them on. Young children don't learn how to fit in from rule books, they learn from observation of adults, and Saturday morning cartoons with clear and exaggerated examples.

We want to create similar examples, to help to socialise intelligent machines, so that they can better understand us, and act in ways that we find comfortable and preferable. Machine intelligence. will not be policed adequately by rules or programming. Instead, we need to raise it like a pet or a young child, by socialising it with our culture.



It's not fair for one group to gain a monopoly – to install their own version of values into intelligent machines. Artificial Intelligence needs to meet us where we are – to figure out what local behavioural norms look like, to a specific demographic or creed, and then figure out how to be the kindest and most gentle version possible, of those particular norms.

Our primary desire is to capture pro-social behavioural examples, with anti-social examples being a secondary target of opportunity.

The focus is on behaviour, and not content. However, to help to gather insights from around the world, we aim to annotate both aspects. Thus, one might find an opinion distasteful, but if it is presented in a reasonable manner, it should be annotated as 'pro-social behaviour, objectionable content'



Recent developments in Style Transfer techniques make it possible to apply a particular aesthetic to target content. We want to enable something similar – to enable machine intelligence to exercise a style of behaviour that is most acceptable, urbane, and welcome.

Similar processes could be applied to translating between groups of people who may not easily understand each other's perspectives, particularly in these deeply polarized times. 

It can also enable the sanitization of content. This would be something like 'a firewall for bad vibes', but which may still enable messages to be communicated, albeit with a form or tone that can stylize or harmonize content formulated in an objectionable manner into more palatable terms.