Are you ethical when it comes to AI?

Unity updates its guiding principles for ethical AI and hopes users also will act accordingly.

Karen Moltenbrey

There was a time not long ago when many people thought AI was something that existed in the realm of science fiction. Today, those same people are trying it out on some level. Others are using it and probably don’t even know they are doing so. In no time at all, AI has crept into our lives. Now tech companies and government entities are trying to catch up with it and encourage or mandate, depending on the entity, ethical guidelines pertaining to AI. Unity is one of those companies that is promising to abide by ethnical principles and is encouraging its users to do likewise.

AI is enabling wonderful things. AI is the root of all evil. Two polarizing positions, with perhaps a third one falling somewhere between them.

There’s no doubt that the use of AI is occurring fast and furiously. Generative AI is a technology that holds great potential for good—for example, advancing medical research, identifying areas of climate change, predicting natural disasters, and diagnosing cancer, to name but a few. It also can assist individuals with necessary (and unnecessary) tasks, such as writing fact-based reports or even fictional stories meant to entertain. And, applications like ChatGPT and even Adobe Firefly are making it oh-so simple to use.

However, there is also the darker side of AI. Placed into the wrong hands, and someone is bound to use it in an unethical way or worse yet, for nefarious means.

Unity has more than once voiced its excited by the promise of AI and ML-driven techniques that will reduce complexity and speed up the creation process, leading to new ideas. On its own and with partners, Unity is exploring how AI can be used in simulation, content creation, and game optimization. “Today, we strongly believe that the power of generative AI will enable Unity creators to be much more productive, while ushering in scores of new creators who will face lower barriers to building real-time 3D games and experiences. We think that these AI tools will complement, rather than replace, existing tools and workflows. They offer the promise to help creators do more for and by themselves by filling the gaps in skill sets and resources,” the company states.

Unity is aware that there is no putting the AI genie back in the bottle. Rather, it believes the most expedient way of navigating the AI-driven future is to follow that path as responsibly as possible. To this end, Unity recently updated its guiding principles for ethical AI so that it is safe, fair, and productive for its users. The company also asks its user community to act responsibly when employing AI.

With a continued aim to making DCC technology available to all creators, Unity is striving to make AI technology within its tools available to everyone—from creators at the highest professional levels to hobbyists—and says it will review its AI tools to ensure that appropriate datasets are used. Acknowledging the potential consequences of AI, the company also says it will continually improve its products to align with responsible and ethical practices by testing the technologies prior to deployment to ensure that the expected results are indeed being achieved. Furthermore, Unity has committed to emphasizing transparency in the use of AI, specifically how its users contribute to the advancement of AI through their work.

Unity says it will continue to update and refine its guiding principles on AI as needed in order to maintain the proper goals in a quickly evolving field. “We look forward to the continued advancement of AI technology and for a positive impact on society while prioritizing responsible and ethical practices,” the company states.

What do we think?
Now that we’re past the initial introduction of AI, it’s time to get serious about the technology and its implications, particularly on the creative community. Adobe has been a vocal advocate in its crusade for more ethical behavior when using generative AI, especially as it relates to artists’ ownership of their work—a hot-button issue among artists right now. For instance, Adobe is training its Firefly models using Adobe Stock images, which are licensed and public-domain content, so the ensuing content that is produced is safe for commercial use and not based on brands or IP.