One of the fundamental reasons that makes flying so safe are the processes and systems put in place throughout the industry. One of these systems is the Aviation Safety Reporting System.
Administered by NASA, a neutral third party, ASRS is a confidential, voluntary reporting system that allows pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation professionals globally to report safety concerns, incidents, and near-misses without fear of repercussion.
This system has been instrumental in making aviation the safest modes of transport. It identifies potential risks and systemic issues, leading to critical improvements in aviation procedures and technology.
We think the emerging world of human augmentation needs a system built on similar principles; to keep individuals safe, to keep society safe, and to allow for rapid global learning from mistakes made.
Call for a HARS – Human Augmentation Reporting System
Here, we propose a visionary system, akin to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), but tailored for the rapidly evolving domain of human augmentation. This system would align seamlessly with the mission of Cyborgs With Heart, a community of practice committed to the ethical application of intelligent technology.
It’s our vision to create this system where we can gather, study, and chat about anonymous reports related to human augmentation technologies – when things go right, but especially when things almost go wrong, or do go wrong. We want to make things safer, spark innovation, and stick to our ethical values.
Why We Need HARS
As human augmentation technologies get more and more advanced, we believe it’s essential to have a well-rounded reporting system. These technologies, from our current crop of Generative AI tools and other tools for thinking, AR/VR interfaces and eventually neural implants, are super cool and hold great promise. But let’s face it, they also bring up a lot of ethical and safety questions.
We see HARS as a global support and learning system, connecting different communities and creating a shared understanding of these technologies in a manner that helps shape their formation to a safer overall system.
HARS would work on principles like ASRS. We’d encourage anyone involved in the design, use, and implementation of human augmentation technologies to share their stories, close calls, and ethical dilemmas in a safe and anonymous space. This way, we protect everyone’s privacy and encourage an open, trusting environment.
We envision this to be a system where both large and small incidents or near-incidents could be reported; what if you noticed a Generative AI system caused employee satisfaction to plummet? Report it. What if you almost sent a misinformation-laden press release because you used GenAI to write it? Report it. This way, others can learn from you and we don’t all need to repeat the same mistakes.
We need a system to gather data on everything that can and will go wrong to make the systems better. We’d study the data collected for patterns, insights, and potential issues. Then, we’d share these findings with the community through reports, guidelines, and even policy recommendations. This feedback loop is super important as it helps our collective knowledge grow along with the technology.
How would HARS be different?
We are aware of seemingly similar initiatives, such as the OECD AI Incident Monitor, and the AI Incident Database which has also been inspired by ASRS.
However, unlike these existing platforms, HARS would be specifically tailored to the broader and more nuanced field of human augmentation, which encompasses not just AI, but also future cutting-edge technologies like neural implants and augmented reality interfaces. HARS also envisions including societal-level ‘incidents’ or harms related to automation, and plans to emphasize the ethical implications of these technologies, moving beyond just safety and functionality concerns, thereby providing a holistic view of the impacts of human augmentation on society.
By using our network, Cyborgs with Heart can help with awareness and gather a wide range of experiences and views, making the database more diverse and giving a more rounded picture of the human augmentation scene.
We’re aware that there will be challenges on the road to bringing HARS to life. Getting everyone involved, protecting privacy, and turning insights into actionable guidelines are just a few bumps on the road. We will also need to ensure that the system can adapt and look ahead, just like technology does.
HARS should not, however, be operated by us. If you represent an organization that could be viewed as a neutral third party, please get in touch! Similar to NASA, we would love to have an independent 3rd party ‘hosting’ partner for this; perhaps a university, or a government organization.
We see the Human Augmentation Reporting System as a bold but necessary step towards a future where technology and ethics go hand in hand.
It’s also emblematic of what we stand for at Cyborgs With Heart – connecting, nurturing responsible attitudes, and embracing our humanity with technology. As we stand at the dawn of a new era in tech, systems like HARS can help us unlock the full potential of these technologies and do so in a safer, more ethical manner.
We’re inviting you, our community, to join us on this adventure, to share, learn, and grow together. Let’s make this journey amazing!