Four Laws for Social Networks

posted Dec 31, 2012, 4:00 AM by Jean-Michel Davault   [ updated Sep 18, 2013, 1:28 AM ]


The idea of ​​this contribution is the result of a reflection on:  

- Projects in artificial intelligence,
- Reading books both fiction and scientific,

- Cultural exchanges and travels,
- Sci-fi films,

- Laws regarding the protection of personal data,

- Terms of web services,

- Laws governing collective behavior within a globalized society along with the notion of "rights and duties" that defines the expression space for individual freedom and its limits face to respect the general interest.

The objective of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the use of more and more complex algorithms for a bigger and bigger number of users by an increasing number of powerful trading companies.

The person who has probably the most reflected on the impact of artificial intelligence in a society or civilization is certainly Isaac Asimov's three laws with robotics.

So far the application of these laws remained the domain of science fiction as available technologies, trade issues, implications for most people remained more or less under control.

The situation changes, or will inevitably change by 2019. Inert and living technologies intersect. The strength of affordable computing power (17.59 petaflops) combined with the miniaturization of electronic components, the use of more systematic intelligent agents, the ability to answer questions in natural language (IBM, Nuance, Siri, ...) ,"cloud computing", the imperative need to protect personal data (Instagram, Facebook, Google, ..) show that the implementation of "universal laws" protecting individual and humanity becomes imperative.

At the dawn of 2013, "entities using more artificial intelligence" facing human beings are primarily Social Networks.

Any social network in the world actually uses more and more complex systems, artificial agents and now artificial intelligence algorithms approaching closely human behavior with the possible bias to want to free itself from control of the largest number 

Every person, human being, wants his side to better control the information it publishes on the Social Network and keeps “Ownership”/”Property” of it.

The Social Network, he, is a kind of autonomous entity to provide services to human beings comparable to humanity (hundreds of millions to billions of users). The Social Network has rules and laws among which one is to maximize the profitability of its services, another to be in compliance with local laws or broader ones...

We can thus compare a Social Network to a robot and each user to a human being belonging to humanity. So, let us try to apply three Isaac Asimov's laws to the Social Network:

Zero Law: A social network may not harm humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to be injured.

First Law: A social network may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless inconsistent with the Zero Law.

Second Law: A social network must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law or the Zero Law.

Third Law: A social network must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law or the Zero Law.

Remain now to define how to implement and operate concretely these laws …