Ethical AI

Expert guidance for designing ethical AI

Practical tools and services so you can make a difference

The state of AI ethics.

Technology companies, start-ups, consulting firms and even governments are rushing to add ethics boards and hire “AI ethicists.” They’re asking them to think about everything from bias and fairness to the circumstances under which it is acceptable to use AI in social systems.

Finally! We see this as welcome acknowledgement of the harm AI can do.

But it’s not a straightforward setup. Google has already been accused of “ethics washing,” the term used to describe the weaponization of ethics as a defense against regulation.

And many people are skeptical about the role of ethicists in technology companies—including both ethicists and technologists.

But if the pendulum swings too far the other way, good ethical practices and initiatives may suffer from “ethics bashing,” with the result being even less discussion of ethics.

Neither of these extremes are productive.

All this means that you get one shot at making a difference with AI ethics.

What we do.

We focus on practical ethics:

  • Education: We get your team ready with up-skilling and education on why AI is different and ethics as “table stakes.”
  • Action: We guide you through the process of getting it done. Less pontification and more productive decision-making using tangible, easily understood frameworks.
  • Ethical Design: Our Sonder Scheme Studio provides the structure for designing AI that humans want, collaboratively and efficiently.
  • Governance: We help you make it work in practice: meetings, decisions, metrics, sign-offs, monitoring, reporting, accountability, governance.

Why Sonder Scheme?

We have devoted the past half decade to understanding this emerging skill set and developing the tools and techniques that are required for creating ethical AI. We combine our direct experience developing products used by millions of people with deep understanding of the many different fields involved in AI—computer science, product design, UX, AI research, law, philosophy. 

We combine our AI expertise with our significant operating backgrounds to translate ethical theories into practical and actionable plans. We’ll help you both figure out what you want to happen as well as make it happen.

Learn more about what we think in our latest articles on ethical AI:

Sonder Scheme Studio

How to build AI that humans want

Artificial intelligence is a new way to tell computers what people want. This means there are new requirements for design. Design has to take into account a whole host of new ideas — from telling computers about the values of individual and society to allowing individual users to provide feedback to a machine in a personally meaningful way, dynamically, in real-time.

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How to design human—centered, not human—futures, AI

Human-centered AI design must be the way forward. If AI design is untempered by human concerns for fairness, equity, justifiability and human accountability, if it only optimizes for one thing (profit), or if it is solely designed to create a future-you rather than understanding the future-you, then we all lose—especially in our authentic connections with others.

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How to map human and machine roles

Once you’ve figured out the problem you want to solve and that AI is the right way to go, the next step is to figure out how to apply AI. It’s important to understand whether AI should replace what a human does (which can reduce time spent on monotonous tasks and free people up) or whether AI should enhance what a person does by making it easier to do a task

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