Artificial Intelligence: A Lever for Restoring Equality?

  • Jean-Pierre Béland Programmes d'éthique, Département des sciences humaines et sociales, Laboratoire Nanobioéthique (NBÉ), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi; Institut interdisciplinaire d'innovation technologique (3it), Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
Keywords: artificial intelligence, digital inclusion, social inequalities, ethics review
Language(s): French


The international conference “Pour des intelligences artificielles au service du corps vulnérable : Les contreforts de l’éthique et du droit” held in December 2021 at the Université catholique de Lyon, in France, explored whether artificial intelligence (AI) be a lever to restore equality between poor and rich, women and men, the disabled, the elderly? In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, this question is being asked everywhere, including various international bodies, such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Communications Union (ICU). This question requires an impact analysis (leverage) of AI that can generate more social justice (reduction of inequalities). How can we produce such an analysis so that AI can benefit everyone without excluding citizens from marginalized communities? The difficult ethical problem to solve is the following: how far does the impact of AI maximize justice by reducing inequalities? Here the analysis relies on knowledge of AI features that can have a real or negative impact. The purpose of this paper will be to show, based on our framework for analyzing technology impacts and various published texts, the strengths and weaknesses of AI, to answer this question. Applying this framework, we proceed as follows: 1) situate the complex problem of inequalities: those that are generational and socio-economic in nature to which AI has little impact; inequalities to which AI can have an impact, including digital inclusion and social inequalities; 2) situate the terminology of AI: weak (algorithms) or complete (decisional and autonomous) AI; 3) do an analysis of inequalities: digital inclusion and social inequalities showing the strengths and weaknesses of AI.

How to Cite
Béland J-P. Artificial Intelligence: A Lever for Restoring Equality?. Can. J. Bioeth. 2022;5:162-70.
Conference Proceedings