UnSummoning the Demon: A Roadmap to Ethical AI by John Schlichter

With 47% of businesses surveyed integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations and 78% planning to increase investments in the technology in the near future according to McKinsey & Company, the race is on to create not only capable artificial intelligence but ethical AI. Yet nobody has distinguished what maturity means vis-a-vis the ethical development and use of AI or the steps to get there. "Maturity" isn't a word that belongs only to wine connoisseurs characterizing their best libations or Wall Street brokers characterizing the ultimate pay-out of their financial instruments. It is a word that characterizes every pregnant mother coming to term and every football team arriving at the Super Bowl. "Maturity" is the destination, and the steps to achieve maturity can be described easily as a "model” once maturity is distinguished. The term "maturity model" is jargon that originated in the late 1980's when the U.S. Department of Defense funded the research to evaluate the ability of contractors to develop and deliver their goods. Soon thereafter, a Cambrian-like explosion of maturity models elaborated everything from software development productivity, logistics, and smart grid modernization, to strategy-implementation-through-projects. The time has come for an ethical AI maturity model.


Our aim is to help users assess and develop capabilities for creating and implementing AI ethically. If the example of a college course curriculum is a "maturity model," then the grading rubric for such a course is a corresponding assessment protocol. Just as maturity models have proliferated, so has a myriad of cottage industries associated with assessing the maturity of this or that to characterize the position of anything in its teleology. What it means for AI to be "ethical" can be distinguished and evaluated for any application, whether that is driverless cars, face recognition, or AI enabled medical diagnosis. It can be assessed from the varied perspectives of sponsors, designers, developers, suppliers, government authorities, users, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, helping these many roles become aligned.

To distinguish what it means to exhibit requisite capabilities in ethical AI from all perspectives and to distinguish the steps from lesser capability to greater capability, one must reverse engineer choice architectures for vexing questions. e.g. "should a driver-less vehicle faced with a no-win crash scenario sacrifice its own passengers versus another's?" Or "is face recognition software that invades privacy unacceptable for commercialism but plausible in public safety situations?" And "how should AI enabled medical diagnosis balance the interests of patients and insurers?" In all cases, where does data come from to feed the AI, how should the capabilities of AI-based decision-making be directed, and how should competing interests be arbitrated? How should participants in all roles of the AI ecosystem parse the needs of the one versus the needs of the many? Are answers to these questions universal or do they vary by ethnography?

By some accounts, ensuring AI is ethical is an existential issue for humanity. Elon Musk famously said that everyone racing to develop AI is “summoning the demon,” running the risk of creating something beyond human control that could be a moral hazard with mortal consequences. We essentially wish to “unsummon” the demon, cultivating instead the intent and capability to base AI on the better angels of our nature. To that end, our vision is to create a widely and enthusiastically endorsed maturity model recognized worldwide as the standard for developing and assessing ethical AI. Our mission is to develop an open-source Ethical Artificial Intelligence Maturity Model or E-AIMM that provides methods for assessing and developing capabilities to ensure the ethical development and ethical use of AI, promoting successful, consistent, and predictable ethical behavior by all stakeholders and AI's. For this purpose, we are creating a global community of participants who will contribute to development of the model, an assessment protocol, certifications, benchmark data, and conferences.

Join us for the kick-off of the E-AIMM Program on August 24, 2019 in Atlanta and become a member of the E-AIMM Program team. Come hear keynote speaker Chris Benson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Strategist for AI Ethics, and diverse panels of leaders in the field. We will prototype the model based on their input and yours that very day and then announce next steps to complete the model. Reserve the date now!

Business Agility Survey by John Schlichter

Are you involved in the implementation of strategies through projects? What is sought is a capability to change across the physical, information, cognitive, and social domains, and to achieve success in the face of deep uncertainty and highly variable conditions. Agility (as it is called) requires learning, and learning requires agility. Take our survey to learn how others are applying learning to unleash agility to accomplish their strategies.

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A Message for Sunil Prashara, PMI’s new President & CEO by John Schlichter

"Organizational Logics” are constructs that denote the rationalization of what an organization can do in the context of views about its purpose, legitimacy, and morality. An organization’s dominant logic dictates its ability to develop practical virtue in terms of value rationality and praxis. Leaders give their adherents contextual cues that create meaning out of the ways they exercise power, thereby creating the categories of action-taking to which adherents subscribe. Leaders can invoke value rationality in praxis by asking the questions of phronesis. Case in point, PMI's executives have cultivated a dominant logic punctuated by explicit cues that explain actions adherents have taken to expand operations outside of PMI's scope as a trade association whose mission is to institutionalize project management throughout society, and in doing so PMI has rationalized competitive behavior that creates a conflict of interest between the trade association and those whom the trade association needs to achieve its mission.

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The Big Business of Slave Labor On 21st Century Infrastructure Projects by John Schlichter

One would expect slavers everywhere to garner nasty reputations, but they are glorified for roads and reservoirs, fabrications and fundaments, and pipelines and parks. I have witnessed it firsthand, auditing megaprojects.

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Closing Keynote at Canada’s Largest Annual Project Management Conference by John Schlichter

I gave the closing keynote yesterday at the CWCC in Vancouver, which I was told is the largest project management conference in Canada. The title of my talk was “Delivering Innovative Projects Predictably Using SIMPLE® - How TransLink Is Transforming Its Project Delivery Capability.” TransLink, the rapid mass transit authority that builds roads and rails for metro Vancouver's 2.3 million residents, hired OPM Experts LLC to assess their infrastructure project management capabilities, and then joined me on stage to talk about it.

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India Emerges as Project Management Super Power by John Schlichter

It was a pleasure having lunch with India’s incoming Consul General today. While in South Africa and Oman, the CGI witnessed firsthand the importance of large infrastructure projects, especially those involving water. South Africa’s water shortage has become a national crisis, and Oman’s Sultanate has made water infrastructure a national priority of the PAEW, which is currently transforming its Organizational Project Management capabilities using a model I conceived called “OPM3” to cope with rapid industrialization and a growing population base. These are some of the same challenges India continues to grapple.

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Simple Rules for Project Cancelation by John Schlichter

Simple rules create the possibility of behavior that is independent in detail and governed by higher organizing principles, i.e. emergence. In this context, rules are heuristics or guidelines and are not intended to do the thinking for you or to act as a replacement for the consideration and wisdom of leaders. Here are five simple rules for project cancellation. 

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Business Agility in an Exponential Future by John Schlichter

In this complex, volatile, and uncertain world, project teams form to meet changing needs. Teams are composed of personnel who span traditional corporate and agency boundaries as ephemeral networks. Knowledge necessary for the problem solving inherent to projects must be captured, codified, and internalized as standards for networks of projects to implement strategy capably over time.

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Project Sponsorship and Risk - A Better Alternative to Escalation by John Schlichter

Escalation? There is a better way to deal with the problem that risk responses exceed the project manager's authority, a way to organize that obviates escalation, avoids inducing sponsors to micromanage, and eliminates the rampant misalignment between sponsors and project teams that dis-empowers those closest to the work to act wisely and with agility.

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Disaster Relief Programs: A Thousand Twangling Instruments by John Schlichter

Our models have been applied in a range of real-world disaster-relief contexts and circumstances, e.g. responses to Hurricane Katrina, the 2002 Elbe River floods, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the 2005 Pakistani earthquake; and NATO operations in Bosnia and Kosovo; as well as for maturity assessments of alternative unit organizations in U.S. forces, i.e. Light Infantry, Airborne and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

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ICYMI, here are some scientific breakthroughs that occurred this past week. by John Schlichter

Quantum materials were created that can conduct electricity at nearly the speed of light.

The world’s first fusion reactor created its first plasma; on track to produce clean energy by 2018.

Fungi in a toxic lake was discovered to produce a new antibiotic that kills super-bugs unlike anything before.

HIV infection has been eliminated in living animals through gene editing.

Researchers created the first synthetic retina out of soft tissue.

Scientists discovered how to extract ancient DNA from 240,000 year old dirt.

In this exponential future accelerating toward us, how can executives implement their strategies through projects successfully, consistently, and predictably? The answer is "SIMPLE," the "Strategy Implementation Maturity Protocol for Learning Enterprises." See https://lnkd.in/eMKAV-e