Retired UW computer science professor embroiled in Twitter spat over AI ethics and ‘cancel culture’

Pedro Domingos, a well-known ML/AI academic, tweeted:

It’s alarming that NeurIPS papers are being rejected based on ‘ethics reviews'. How do we guard against ideological biases in such reviews? Since when are scientific conferences in the business of policing the perceived ethics of technical papers?

And thus was begun another Twitter-storm. Read the article for more. I link to it specifically because it highlights the extent to which the field is struggling with the very practical question of how to incorporate ethical considerations into the scientific process. I actually don't believe this is something we've been good at throughout the history of science, and while I'm strongly in agreement that AI ethics does matter, I don't believe it's such a cut-and-dry answer as to how we operationally achieve that as a scientific community.

That's not me saying "I agree with Domimgos"--I don't. But I also think that the broader topic is a fascinating one and doesn't lend itself to easy answers. It does seem like the NeurIPS ethical review process has been thoughtfully designed.


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