Asilomar AI Principles: 23 Tips for Making AI Safe

The Asilomar AI Principles is a list of 23 guidelines that artificial intelligence researchers, scientists and lawmakers should abide by to ensure safe, ethical and beneficial use of AI.

Will artificial intelligence (AI) be good for humanity or destroy it? It’s an age-old debate that is getting even more attention recently with the rapid speed at which AI is advancing.

Looking to avoid an AI apocalypse, the Future of Life Institute this week unveiled the Asilomar AI Principles, a set of 23 guidelines established by AI experts, roboticists, and tech leaders, to ensure the development of ethical, safe AI.

The principles have been signed by more than 2,000 people, including 844 AI and robotics researchers. The list includes Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, Google DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis, cosmologist Stephen Hawking, and many other leading minds.

The list is broken up into research problems, ethics and values, and longer-term issues in AI. The Future of Life Institute’s YouTube channel has a bunch of videos on the Asilomar AI Principles and other AI-related topics, and we highly recommend you check them out.

In the meantime, here are the 23 principles to developing safe AI and avoiding an AI apocalypse.

Research Issues

1. Research Goal
The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2. Research Funding
Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3. Science-Policy Link
There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4. Research Culture
A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5. Race Avoidance
Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards.

Ethics and Values

6. Safety
AI systems should be safe and secure throughout their operational lifetime, and verifiably so where applicable and feasible.

7. Failure Transparency
If an AI system causes harm, it should be possible to ascertain why.

8. Judicial Transparency
Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.

9. Responsibility
Designers and builders of advanced AI systems are stakeholders in the moral implications of their use, misuse, and actions, with a responsibility and opportunity to shape those implications.

10. Value Alignment
Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

11. Human Values
AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

12. Personal Privacy
People should have the right to access, manage and control the data they generate, given AI systems’ power to analyze and utilize that data.

13. Liberty and Privacy
The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.

14. Shared Benefit
AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.

15. Shared Prosperity
The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.

16. Human Control
Humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.


17. Non-subversion
The power conferred by control of highly advanced AI systems should respect and improve, rather than subvert, the social and civic processes on which the health of society depends.

18. AI Arms Race
An arms race in lethal autonomous weapons should be avoided.

Longer-term Issues

19. Capability Caution
There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities.

20. Importance
Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

21. Risks
Risks posed by AI systems, especially catastrophic or existential risks, must be subject to planning and mitigation efforts commensurate with their expected impact.increasing quality or quantity must be subject to strict safety and control measures.

22. Common Good
Superintelligence should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals, and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organization.

23. Recursive Self-Improvement
AI systems designed to recursively self-improve or self-replicate in a manner that could lead to rapidly.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe:  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


whibbard · February 4, 2017 · 4:56 pm

The Asilomar AI Principles should include transparency about the purpose and means
of advanced AI systems:

whibbard · February 4, 2017 at 4:56 pm

The Asilomar AI Principles should include transparency about the purpose and means
of advanced AI systems:

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