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Responsible AI Pledge Challenge

The author, Daniel Hartley
Daniel Hartley
Reading time: 2 minute

"If anyone is feeling anxious, worried or maybe you just want a chat, please, please do not come crying to me." Sister Michael, Derry Girls


The challenge

The open source project ResponsibleTechWork has challenged users of AI to contribute to its best practices by making pledges.

Our argument - I am a contributor to RTW - is that if we act collectively, sharing our concerns and aspirations, we have a better chance of putting AI to good use.

My response

The problem with making pledges is that you're supposed to stick to them in perpetuity. So it was a relief when my colleague Alja and I at RTW realised that pledges, like humans, are sensitive to time. Principles are rocks which change imperceptibly, if at all, but pledges are like eddies in the surrounding waters, to be navigated until we are clear of immediate danger.

Having a moral window in which to act also shifts the emphasis from the doer to the thing being done. Acts are transitory but people, and circumstances, change.

I've been using ChatGPT a lot this year, and talking and thinking about it more. Does the provenance of an idea or work of art matter, do memories exist (or are they simply re-reruns through the model of the brain), and is AI (or not AI), a distraction we cannot afford? I've also been asking myself what the cost is to use AI, to our privacy, to people's rights, and to the environment.

I will return to these questions in later posts, but for now, here are my pledges.


I pledge to stop using ChatGPT until the conditions and rights of employees involved in outsourced work have been addressed.
Pledge checkpoint: end of August 2023

To prevent myself from being distracted by advances in AI, I pledge to return my focus to other things.
I pledge to stop using ChatGPT until I have a better understanding of its impact on resources and people. [Updated 6 July 2023]
Pledge checkpoint: end of July 2023
Pledge report: pledge fulfilled

To compensate for the water use of my chats with ChatGPT, I pledge to use grey water for my plants.
Pledge checkpoint: end of summer 2023

To share what I learn about AI, I pledge to provide links to the materials, sources, and people that have helped me.
Pledge checkpoint: tricky, but I'll review this one at the end of the summer too


With thanks to Alja, Carl, JP, Franca, Christina, Carla, Pierre, Anne and Bernard, and my former colleagues at Altruistiq with all of whom I have shared conversations about the upsides, downsides, and conundrums of recent developments in AI.


Published: Tue Jun 20 2023

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