Not Just a Tool: How Will We Respond to the Evolution of Information Systems?

01.03.2017

Information systems have become something more than just a tool, and discussions about providing robots with a certain amount of legal capacity are not far off, Vladislav Shershulsky, Director for Technology Cooperation at Microsoft, said in an interview with Club 2035 (a partnership project of Valdai Club and the company RVC).

I think the Valdai Club format is one of the most effective available for setting the national socio-technological agenda. The future will be increasingly determined not by a single factor, but a combination of technologies, their use by society and the managing of possible risks through regulation.

From this perspective, it seems interesting and useful to discuss education as a way to improve social and technological mobility of society, the balance between promoting innovations and establishing limits of acceptable risk in technological regulation, as well as specific issues related to relations between humans and information systems, such as robots, personal assistants, search systems, autonomous intelligent decision-making systems and the internet of things, to name a few.

The last topic is quickly becoming a pressing issue as robots and machine learning are becoming a part of new areas of life. We are past the point where one could treat information systems as tools. Perhaps, they should be given some degree of legal capacity and, on an even more fundamental level, we should treat them as subjects enjoying certain (albeit minimal) rights who deserve ethical treatment.

It turns out that, without it, even technically, it is unlikely we will ever be able expect information systems to behave in a moral or law-abiding manner. Appropriate approaches have begun to take shape spontaneously in most developed countries, and it is important to not only be aware of their efforts, but also to train specialists and make the necessary decisions in Russia in due time.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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