AANB 500 seminar series – Tse Yip Fai on animals and AI ethics

As part of our seminar series for the AANB 500 course, the Animal Welfare Program hosts speakers from animal welfare and adjacent fields. Last week, we hosted speaker Tse Yip Fai who is a research assistant at Princeton University focusing on AI ethics and animal welfare.

Fai provided an overview of AI and its connection to animal intelligence, as well as the field of AI ethics and its focus on ethical implications. He discussed the ethics of technologies that impact animals, emphasizing the often-forgotten ethical impacts on nonhuman animals. Fai also highlighted the lack of discussion on animals in AI ethics, mentioning the various issues commonly discussed in the field. He then outlined the growing concern surrounding AI chatbots like ChatGPT potentially ignoring or failing to identify animal welfare problems, and presented tests analyzing ChatGPT’s responses to prompts related to animal welfare issues.

He also talked about AI technology and animal welfare, including the potential use of AI-controlled robots in farming. The importance of considering animal ethics and the impact of AI on animals was highlighted, with discussions on expanding the list of animals we care about and the potential applications of AI in the livestock industry. Worries were raised about AI being used as a band-aid solution in animal agriculture and the challenge of reducing speciesist bias in AI systems.

The presentation also touched on the humanity of AI, ethical questions about attributing sentience to AI systems, and the impact of AI on human intelligence, particularly in language analysis. Overall, the presentation prompted a need to rethink our understanding of intelligence and its relationship with AI.

See the links below for examples of his work:

AI ethics: the case for including animals | AI and Ethics (springer.com)

Speciesist bias in AI: how AI applications perpetuate discrimination and unfair outcomes against animals | AI and Ethics (springer.com)