Artificial intelligence is revolutionising our lives, but without ethical guidelines, it risks reproducing biases, discrimination, and divisions and threatening fundamental human rights and freedoms, as the world's pace of change has been unprecedented since the printing press. The rise of AI has revolutionised healthcare, social media, and labour efficiency, but it also raises ethical concerns about biases, climate change, and human rights threats and exacerbates existing inequalities, particularly affecting marginalised groups.
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UNESCO, established after World War II, promotes peace, sustainable development, and human rights by promoting quality education, preserving cultural heritage, fostering freedom of expression, and advancing scientific knowledge. It addresses global challenges through cooperation in education, science, culture, communication, and information.
UNESCO has significantly contributed to governing AI effectively and ethically by establishing a comprehensive global standard – the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI – in 2021 and leading its adoption by Member States through creative tools and approaches, including the Readiness and Ethical Impact Assessments.
Using these tools, UNESCO is reshaping the AI business model and moving past principles to create specific and practical solutions to guarantee that AI results are just, inclusive, sustainable, and non-discriminatory. The findings from this effort, which includes a thorough assessment of the AI readiness of nearly fifty countries globally, will contribute to discussions at the Forum.
In 2022, 127 countries passed AI-related laws, prompting countries to learn from each other's experiences, share good regulatory practices, and link with knowledge producers. UNESCO's commitment to ethical governance of AI goes beyond adopting Recommendations, focusing on translating ethical principles into actionable policies.
The 2nd International Conference on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: Shaping the Future of AI Governance is scheduled to be held at the Brdo Congress Centre in Kranj on February 5th and 6th, 2024.
This Forum aims to gather the knowledge and skills of countries at various stages of technological and policy advancement to facilitate a targeted sharing of insights and mutual learning. It also seeks to engage in discussions with the private sector, academia, and a broader civil society.
On the first day of the Forum, influential decision makers, industry leaders, representatives from scientific and research institutions, and non-governmental organisations will share their perspectives and successful strategies for governing Artificial Intelligence at global, regional, and national levels.
The second day of the Forum will showcase prominent experts in the field who will explore the opportunities and challenges presented by AI, such as its potential to promote equity, diversity, and non-discrimination, emerging best practices for supervising AI, partnerships with the private sector through ethical impact assessments, and the impact of AI on gender equality.
The Forum will also introduce various UNESCO initiatives, including the launch of the Global AI Ethics Observatory and the UNESCO AI Ethics Experts without Borders Network.
Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
UNESCO has developed the first-ever global standard on AI ethics, the 'Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, ' adopted by all 193 Member States in November 2021. The framework emphasises human rights and dignity, transparency, fairness, and human oversight of AI systems. Its extensive Policy Action Areas allow policymakers to apply these principles in various spheres, including data governance, environment, gender, education, and health.
Four Core Values
Central to the Recommendation are four core values that lay the foundations for AI systems that work for the good of humanity, individuals, societies, and the environment.
- Human rights and human dignity
- Living in peaceful - just, and interconnected societies
- Ensuring diversity and inclusiveness
- Environment and ecosystem flourishing
An Understanding of Artificial Intelligence
The Recommendation defines AI broadly as systems processing data resembling intelligent behaviour, as a narrow definition may become outdated due to rapid technological change.
A human rights approach to AI:
- Proportionality and Do No Harm
- Safety and Security
- Right to Privacy and Data Protection
- Multi-stakeholder and Adaptive Governance & Collaboration
- Responsibility and Accountability
- Transparency and Explainability
- Human Oversight and Determination
- Awareness & Literacy
- Fairness and Non-Discrimination
Key policy areas make clear arenas where Member States can make strides towards responsible developments in AI. While values and principles are crucial to establishing a basis for any ethical AI framework, recent movements in AI ethics have emphasised the need to move beyond high-level principles and toward practical strategies.
The Recommendation does this by setting out eleven key areas for policy actions.
Implementing the Recommendation
There is still a long way to go to provide Member States with actionable resources that ensure the effective implementation of the Recommendation. For this reason, UNESCO has developed two practical methodologies:
The Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) is a UNESCO tool that assesses countries' readiness to integrate AI into their education systems. It helps identify strengths and weaknesses and develops ethical, inclusive, and effective AI integration strategies. RAM includes indicators for policy development, infrastructure, capacity building, and stakeholder engagement. Countries must harness AI's potential while adhering to ethical and inclusive principles.
UNESCO's Ethical Impact Assessment (EIA) is a framework that evaluates the ethical implications of AI technologies in education, culture, and science. It aims to ensure their deployment aligns with ethical principles, human rights, and sustainable development, promoting inclusive growth. The EIA systematic analysis identifies ethical challenges and risks, guiding policymakers and stakeholders to incorporate ethical considerations into AI development, deployment, and use. It promotes human dignity, diversity, and public interest, fostering responsible innovation and collective well-being.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised many industries, improving data analysis, automation, and decision-making. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, have made it possible to create cutting-edge applications in industries like healthcare, finance, and transportation, completely changing how businesses function and engage with their surroundings.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a disruptive force that is reshaping many sectors of the global economy and our everyday lives with uses ranging from robotics to machine learning.
The Global Forum on the Ethics of AI convenes decision-makers, industry leaders, and civil society representatives to discuss AI governance and enhance policy transformation competencies. In this context, it will be beneficial to be aware of the proceedings and the outcome of the session as it will impact human lives on a global scale. A live web streaming is available to online participants. Stay in touch with us for further news.