“I’m Interviewing With AI Companies. How Do I Know If They Have an Ethical North Star?”

Got a Cold Email Asking This Question. Here’s How I Answered

a metal robot holding a scales of justice statue, digital art [DALL-E]

“I was wondering if you have any frameworks or thoughts on how to distinguish founders / startups that have an ethical north star vs those who don’t.”

Here was my response. How could this framework be improved?

tough question! in emerging areas, there’s always a certain amount of disagreement/etc you’re going to have to fight through — just because people have differences of opinion or are mad at you doesn’t necessarily mean you’re acting unethically. I’ve heard people say that OpenAI should have gotten approval from school teachers before they released Chat!!
so maybe there’s something like a three tier system for you to consider

1. Do i think the founders share my values, are good people, etc

2. Do i think the product/technology being worked on is a net positive for society and will we work to identify/mitigate/reduce the negative externalities which occur. How will we measure this?

3. Do i think this company is being built in a way where ethics are (i) screened for in our hiring, (ii) emphasized in our learning and development, and (iii) open for discussion in our ongoing feedback methods (1:1s, company surveys, all hands, etc)

that’s just off the cuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯