Simon Willison’s Weblog

9 items tagged “ethics”


Feeding AI systems on the world’s beauty, ugliness, and cruelty, but expecting it to reflect only the beauty is a fantasy

Ruha Benjamin # 5th September 2022, 9:42 pm

For these reasons, I don’t think I’ll be using Midjourney or any similar tool to illustrate my newsletter going forward (an exception would be if I were writing about the technology at a later date and wanted to show examples). Even though the job wouldn’t go to a different, deserving, human artist, I think the optics are shitty, and I do worry about having any role in helping to set any kind of precedent in this direction.

Charlie Warzel # 4th September 2022, 9:06 pm

Stable Diffusion is a really big deal

If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on with Stable Diffusion, you really should be.

[... 1443 words]


Many of you here today are toolbuilders who help people work with data. Rather than presuming that those using your tools are clear-eyed about their data, how can you build features and methods that ensure people know the limits of their data and work with them responsibly? Your tools are not neutral. Neither is the data that your tools help analyze. How can you build tools that invite responsible data use and make visible when data is being manipulated? How can you help build tools for responsible governance?

danah boyd # 24th December 2021, 11:41 pm


There’s a spectrum on YouTube between the calm section — the Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan part — and Crazytown, where the extreme stuff is. If I’m YouTube and I want you to watch more, I’m always going to steer you toward Crazytown.

Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google # 9th June 2019, 6:22 pm


Things About Real-World Data Science Not Discussed In MOOCs and Thought Pieces (via) Really good article, pointing out that carefully optimizing machine learning models is only a small part of the day-to-day work of a data scientist: cleaning up data, building dashboards, shipping models to production, deciding on trade-offs between performance and production and considering the product design and ethical implementations of what you are doing make up a much larger portion of the job. # 11th December 2018, 8:51 pm


Is it possible to run a successful company without being unethical or operating on the fringes of the law?

There is nothing inherently unethical about entrepreneurship. Find a problem people have. Figure out how much money solving it will save them (or help them make). Charge them less than that.

[... 108 words]


Fear and Loathing in Farmville. “At multiple times during the conference, [Daniel] James expressed his serious ethical qualms over the path social gaming was laying for the industry. So many of the methods for making money are thinly-veiled scams that simply exploit psychological flaws in the human brain.” # 21st March 2010, 10:13 am


Any sufficiently advanced damage control is indistinguishable from ethics.

Eliezer # 6th December 2009, 9:31 am