Research Topic

Artificial Intelligence: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Harms

About this Research Topic

Artificial intelligence (AI) undoubtedly offers tremendous benefits across many industries, including medicine, agriculture, and transportation. However, the potential for AI harm is also growing. Biased and inaccurate algorithms routinely make decisions on job applicants, healthcare, social services, parole and criminal justice, policing, and access to credit and insurance. For example, AI algorithms intended to root out welfare fraud can end up punishing the poor or, in the case of parole decisions, getting it wrong and sending people to jail. Concern about the growing and largely unregulated use of AI is growing, particularly with regard to applications such as facial recognition, emotion detection, and AI-powered warfare. The harm caused by AI has been theorized as ‘algorithmic pollution’: “… a new form of social pollution which denotes the unjustified, unfair, discriminatory, and other harmful effects of automated algorithmic decision-making for individuals, their families, groups of people, communities, organizations, sections of the population, and society at large.” (Marjanovic et al., 2021)

This Research Topic is focused on AI benefits and AI harms and how the two can be managed to achieve outcomes that are fair to individuals and beneficial to society at large.

While there is substantial and growing work on AI principles and responsible AI development, there has been less focus on the actual benefits and harms that can arise from AI applications. We seek to explore AI benefits and harms and how these impact individuals, groups, communities, and society. We are particularly interested in: how can the risk of harm occurring be reduced? How might the benefits and harms of AI be balanced and traded off? And, where harms are created through the use of AI, then how might these be mitigated and redressed?

Articles in this Research Topic might consider the following:
• Impacts of AI benefits and harms
• Definition, assessment, and measurement of AI benefits and harms
• AI benefits management
• Balancing and trading-off of benefits and harms
• Emergent societal benefits and harms
• Mitigation of harms
• Responsible approaches to AI development and deployment
• Redress of AI harms
• Equity issues in the distribution of benefits and harms across sections of society
• Root causes of AI harm generation
• Regulation and legislation of AI harms


Keywords: AI harms, AI benefits, AI ethics, responsible AI, AI principles, AI social justice, AI regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Artificial intelligence (AI) undoubtedly offers tremendous benefits across many industries, including medicine, agriculture, and transportation. However, the potential for AI harm is also growing. Biased and inaccurate algorithms routinely make decisions on job applicants, healthcare, social services, parole and criminal justice, policing, and access to credit and insurance. For example, AI algorithms intended to root out welfare fraud can end up punishing the poor or, in the case of parole decisions, getting it wrong and sending people to jail. Concern about the growing and largely unregulated use of AI is growing, particularly with regard to applications such as facial recognition, emotion detection, and AI-powered warfare. The harm caused by AI has been theorized as ‘algorithmic pollution’: “… a new form of social pollution which denotes the unjustified, unfair, discriminatory, and other harmful effects of automated algorithmic decision-making for individuals, their families, groups of people, communities, organizations, sections of the population, and society at large.” (Marjanovic et al., 2021)

This Research Topic is focused on AI benefits and AI harms and how the two can be managed to achieve outcomes that are fair to individuals and beneficial to society at large.

While there is substantial and growing work on AI principles and responsible AI development, there has been less focus on the actual benefits and harms that can arise from AI applications. We seek to explore AI benefits and harms and how these impact individuals, groups, communities, and society. We are particularly interested in: how can the risk of harm occurring be reduced? How might the benefits and harms of AI be balanced and traded off? And, where harms are created through the use of AI, then how might these be mitigated and redressed?

Articles in this Research Topic might consider the following:
• Impacts of AI benefits and harms
• Definition, assessment, and measurement of AI benefits and harms
• AI benefits management
• Balancing and trading-off of benefits and harms
• Emergent societal benefits and harms
• Mitigation of harms
• Responsible approaches to AI development and deployment
• Redress of AI harms
• Equity issues in the distribution of benefits and harms across sections of society
• Root causes of AI harm generation
• Regulation and legislation of AI harms


Keywords: AI harms, AI benefits, AI ethics, responsible AI, AI principles, AI social justice, AI regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2021 Abstract
30 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2021 Abstract
30 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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