193 countries adopt the first global agreement on the ethics of artificial intelligence |
Artificial intelligence is present in everyday life, from booking flights to applying for credit, to driving driverless cars. It is also used in specialized areas such as cancer screening or to help create inclusive environments for people with disabilities.
According to UNESCO, AI also supports decision-making by governments and the private sector, as well as helping to tackle global issues such as climate change and world hunger.
However, the agency warns that the technology “brings unprecedented challenges.”
“We see an increase in gender and ethnic biases, significant threats to privacy, dignity and agency, dangers of mass surveillance and the increased use of unreliable AI technologies in law enforcement , to name a few. Until now, there were no universal standards to answer these questions, ”UNESCO said in a statement.
In this perspective, the adopted text aims to guide the construction of the legal infrastructure necessary to ensure the ethical development of this technology.
“The world needs rules for artificial intelligence to benefit humanity. The AI Ethics Recommendation is a major response. It sets the first global normative framework while giving States the responsibility to apply it at their level. UNESCO will support its 193 Member States in its implementation and ask them to report regularly on their progress and their practices ”, declared Audrey Azoulay, Head of UNESCO.
Unsplash / Maxime Valcarce
AI as a positive contribution to humanity
The text aims to highlight the benefits of AI, while reducing the risks it also entails. According to the agency, it provides a guide to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, by addressing issues of transparency, accountability and privacy, with policy chapters action-oriented on data governance, education, culture, work, health and economy.
One of its main calls is to protect data, going beyond what tech companies and governments do to provide individuals with greater protection by ensuring transparency, agency and control over their personal data. The recommendation also explicitly prohibits the use of AI systems for social scoring and mass surveillance.
The text also underlines that AI actors should favor methods that save data, energy and resources that will help make AI a more important tool in the fight against climate change and in solving environmental problems. .
“Decisions affecting millions of people must be fair, transparent and questionable. These new technologies should help us meet the major challenges of our world today, such as increased inequalities and the environmental crisis, and not make them worse. Said Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences.
You can read the full text here.