With much concern raised over Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the risk posed by such systems, the UNESCO has come out with a policy paper grounded in ethical principles.
The UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence contains analyses of burgeoning “experimental” AI tools such as ChatGPT, which have taken the world by storm. Apart from ethical principles, the paper highlights the known effects of such models in relation to the principles and policy areas of the Recommendation.
WHY THE POLICY PAPER?
Responding to recent calls by the G7 leaders for regulation, the policy paper suggests how the Recommendation can act as a guide for stakeholders in addressing various concerns, proposing concrete actions and a procedural framework for designing, developing, deploying and procuring AI systems ethically. This includes facilitating the mitigation and redressal of harms that arise from AI systems and conducting ex-ante assessments, ultimately allowing stakeholders to leverage and promote the social benefits of such platforms.
Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Gabriela Ramos in the foreword said a recognition of the risks posed by AI systems, and the need to identify and prevent or mitigate them, is what led UNESCO to produce the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, which was adopted by all 193 Member States in November 2021.
“The Recommendation sets out four values premised on the promotion of human rights and human dignity, which is then, unpacked in the form of ten principles as well as specific policy recommendations for governments. The aim of the Recommendation is to ensure fair and inclusive outcomes, while enhancing the positive impacts of these technologies,” she said.
Many voices are now calling for a review of the way these technologies are developed and launched, signalling the need for stronger governance and oversight capacities. This is an effort that UNESCO has been making for decades in relation to emerging technologies, be they human genome, AI, or neuro technologies, through its ethical mandate, she said.
“ ChatGPT and LLMs are creating high expectations of the services they can provide to humanity. These could be significant. However, their widespread use is also highlighting the risks attached to how these technologies are currently being deployed, responding to a frantic technological race between economic actors and countries, instead of serving the public good. To get it right, we need the right oversight and policy frameworks, and this is what UNESCO has been mandated to do by its Member States since 2021. We hope that the concerns that these technologies are raising will help us build more solid governance frameworks to positively impact our economies and societies,” Gabriela Ramos said.
UNESCO is well prepared to support countries in this through an extensive toolkit of resources that was produced in tandem with the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI. This includes tools such as the Readiness Assessment Methodology and Ethical Impact Assessment, and several expert networks (AI Experts without Borders and the Women4EthicalAI Platform). The organization is also working closely with many other fora, including the European Union and the G20, to facilitate greater oversight of AI and with the aim of working toward the establishment of a model governance framework.
In a time of heightened anxiety over the pace of AI innovation outstripping regulation, UNESCO’s policy paper is a timely document that responds to the latest developments in the industry and highlights how the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI is an existing useful resource, which can guide decision-makers toward swift and robust regulation.
(Sourced from UNESCO Site)