How to Become an AI Ethicist

The artificial intelligence (AI) era has come with tons of advancements for many industries. However, among those smart systems, ethical concerns have emerged. That’s how AI ethicists appear in the game today.

Many companies even consider AI ethics their top concern. Thus, they need AI ethicists to guide their ethical practices in their AI projects.

If you wonder how to become an artificial intelligence ethicist, you are at the right place. I will discuss the ins and outs of this job. You can also explore the skills needed to excel in your role. So let’s read on to discover!

Overview of an AI Ethicist

AI ethics is a set of moral techniques and principles applied when developing an AI system. Since AI is prevalent in many industries, companies have created their own AI ethics codes. And the AI ethicist is in charge of this task.

Who Is An AI Ethicist?

An AI ethicist studies AI ethics. Then, they ethically guide the AI development process. The primary duty of the AI ethicist is to optimize the engineering technique when using AI. They may add social and ethical perspectives for designing and deploying AI systems.

An AI ethicist


This job is interesting. As an AI ethicist, I face challenges every day. Yet, they are also chances for me to try new things. Here is what I do:

  • I work with stakeholders and other IT team members to ensure they use AI tools ethically.
  • My company uses many AI technologies, like deep learning, machine learning (ML), and NLP (Natural Language Processing). Hence, I have to evaluate their ethical implications.
  • I also develop advanced practices to develop AI systems. After that, I create tools to monitor their performance.
  • There can be multiple ethical problems when using AI. In such cases, I research the issues first. Then, I develop methods to solve them.
  • AI is developing rapidly. Thus, as an AI ethicist, I have to keep up with the latest trends.

Working Environment

AI ethicists can work in corporate and academic settings. You can consider your preferences to choose the one that suits you best.

You will work in a large team if you go for the corporate setting. Together, you develop and implement ethical standards for your company.

On the other hand, if you like to work in an academic setting, you can conduct research independently. Sometimes, other researchers join your projects.

Background and Skills

You need a mix of skills and knowledge to become an AI ethicist. Your future employers like candidates with a strong background in IT. Besides, they want you to have good collaboration and critical thinking skills.

How To Become An AI Ethicist

Becoming an AI ethicist is difficult because you must get the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience. Here is what I did to take this role.

1. Get a solid education

You need a degree first. There are three educational pathways to choose from:

  • First, you can get an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. Computer science, social science, and philosophy can all help. They will teach you the basics of AI ethics.
  • Consider a master’s degree, too. Often, the bachelor’s degree doesn’t focus exclusively on AI. So, if you want to deepen your knowledge, consider this path. The course helps you specialize in this dynamic field.
  • You can choose specialized courses that combine ethical and AI subjects. By the end of the course, you will know how those fields intersect.
Obtain a degree

2. Earn certifications

You can also earn certifications to dig deeper into a certain aspect of the field. Here are the best options for AI ethicists.

AI Ethics (from Oxford University)

This course covers all the basic concepts of AI ethics. You can also explore wider ethical aspects of AI implications in daily life.

I have attended this program and it worked wonderfully for me. I remember that I started with AI’s definition. The instructors also talked about how to address urgent issues of AI ethics. It sounds interesting, right?

This course covers many topics. You can study about AI applications and the ethics around them. They are exactly what you will need at work.

Ethics of AI (from Helsinki)

I love this free course, too. It includes online classes that help those who care about ethical aspects of AI.

During the course, you work on ethical dilemmas related to AI use. You can also familiarize yourself with AI’s ethical principles and queries.

Ethics of AI (from MIT)

MIT offers this course to help learners deal well with ethical dilemmas when developing AI systems. It will teach you how to detect ethical hazards and machine bias. You can also learn to weigh personal vs. organizational obligations.

The course lasts only three ways. But within this short time, you can address ethical facets when using AI at work. Then, you will be more confident in using this modern technology.

Earn certifications

3. Gain practical experience

There is a huge gap between theory and practice. Your hours of studying will go to waste if you don’t have to apply your knowledge. It means you need to gain practical experience.

You can take an internship to apply what you have learned in real life. Plus, when working as an intern, you can meet professionals in the industry. They will show you interesting things about your job.

Join AI ethics projects and research, too. They will strengthen your knowledge while giving you experience in executing real AI-related projects.

So you have two choices. Whichever you choose, you should stick to these guidelines:

Implement AI ethics strategies

You have to develop and execute a good AI ethics strategy. It should include these steps:

  • Risk recognition: Firstly, identify the risks related to legal, social, and ethical issues when running AI projects. This step will help avoid problems.
  • Building trust: Your AI systems must be fair and trustworthy. It’s the only way to ensure user confidence and foster relationships with your stakeholders.
  • Bias mitigation: Try to minimize algorithmic bias. Then, your AI systems can be more effective and accurate.
  • Transparency: AI processes must be transparent. Otherwise, stakeholders and users may misunderstand or misuse your products.
  • Privacy: Put your user data at the top of the concern. To do it, you have to obey privacy rules strictly.
  • Regulations: The industry already has standards when developing AI systems. Thus, stick to them to avoid punishments and ensure AI ethics.

Encourage an ethical culture

Mindset affects the way people use AI technology. As an AI ethicist, you should cultivate an ethos in your workplace so everyone knows they have to be responsible for using AI ethically.

Update AI ethics rules

Ethical implications keep changing because of the constant development of technology. Hence, you have to review and adapt new policies soon. This way, your business can remain aligned with the newest rules.

Gain practical experience

4. Build a network

Try to network with people in your field. You can join platforms about AI ethics to update the latest trends in the industry. Sometimes, you can befriend like-minded people there.

Another idea to network is to attend workshops and conferences. The industry’s leaders go there to share their experiences and insights about their jobs.

You can also expand your network at your company. When working as an intern, you will interact with many people. They will teach you valuable lessons.

Expand your network

5. Get involved in policy-making

Research and development is not the only thing in your job. As an AI ethicist, you can even influence the laws that manage AI applications.

You play a very big role here. Sometimes, you can join government consultations. As you grow and become a true expert, you may give speeches about AI ethics to inspire others.

6. Improve skills

Like knowledge, skills are the foundation for your job growth. Both technical and soft skills are important for an AI ethicist.

Technical skills

  • Relevant frameworks and laws: You should master AI ethics frameworks. To do that, familiarize yourself with the relevant laws first. They act as guidelines for your AI models in the future.
  • Codes of ethics: AI codes of ethics are vital, too. Your code should highlight the AI ethics principles and motivate the right behaviors.
  • Data management: Data is crucial for AI systems. If you have more accurate data results, you can develop better AI models.

Soft skills

  • Communication: You may work across different teams. Moreover, your job involves talking to stakeholders and clients. Thus, hone your communication skills now.
  • Critical thinking: The AI ethical dilemmas are complex. Yet, critical thinking skills can help you handle intricate problems and offer robust solutions.
  • Presentation: Sometimes, you have to present your research to others. This skill requires good verbal communication and confidence. Luckily, you can practice it at school when doing group projects. Your instructors want to hear you talking about your work. So, volunteer to be the speaker.
Develop the essential skills

7. Build your portfolio

The portfolio is what your potential employers first know about you. They will use it to assess your ability. After consideration, they will determine if you are suitable for the job.

So, include your best work in the portfolio. After joining some projects and working as an intern, you may have something to show to your employer.

For each project, describe what it is about and how you did it. If you faced any problems during the process, mention them, too. Then, explain how you solve them.

Once the portfolio is done, you can upload it online. Some companies find talents that way. So remember to note your contact info in the portfolio.

8. Apply for a job

Finally, apply for an AI ethicist job. Send your portfolio to the company you want to work for. If they like it, they will get in touch with you.

You can also find jobs on job search websites. Just type the job title and filter your location, expected salary, and job type. Then, job results will show up.

Your network can be helpful here. Some companies need AI ethicists, but they don’t advertise their recruitment. Yet, their employees know, and your pals can be one of them.

Remember to read the job description carefully. After that, tailor your resume and cover letter to match its requirements. This way, you can show that you are serious about the job and really want to get it.

Find a job

Why Are Ethics Important in AI?

AI ethics are super important, especially when AI technology is booming these days. There are many reasons behind this trend.

For example, AI ethics determine how people develop AI systems. They ensure that the design can match ethical principles.

AI systems can reflect social values and norms. In this case, AI ethics come into play to help prevent biases that may result in harmful outcomes.

How Much Can An AI Ethicist Earn?

AI is a growing field. Hence, AI specialists are now in demand in many industries. Companies are willing to offer high pay for their talents.

Generally, AI ethicists can earn about $124,850 annually. Aside from the high salary, you will also receive many benefits, such as bonuses, health insurance, and stock options.

Job Outlook

This job is promising. The AI era comes with potential risks. Thus, companies need AI ethicists to deal with their social, legal, and moral compliance.

Furthermore, AI will continue to grow. Many engineers have found innovative ways to apply this technology in different sectors. As a result, the need for AI ethics will increase, too.

This field is growing

Wrapping Up

You can become an AI ethicist in eight steps. However, the journey may take years to finish. Even when working in this role, you have to keep learning to upgrade yourself.

You will surely face challenges. But remember you can contribute to the AI industry as an AI ethicist. So keep your goals in mind and go forward!