When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) it’s not difficult to see that we find ourselves in a time of great significance. Not only has AI magnificent potential, it is also progressing at a terrifying rate. And although we may not be the first to notice the potential of AI, it is still early enough for us to witness how the regulatory foundation is being laid. The decisions made by regulators now will have far-reaching consequences for the future.

A declaration on ethics and data protection in Artificial Intelligence adopted at ICDPPC

Industry leaders concerned with the regulation and programming of AI fields have now established various principles to help guide AI research and values. And in a closed session held in October 2018 at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), a Declaration on Ethics and Data Protection in Artificial Intelligence was endorsed.

The declaration notes “that many stakeholders in the field of artificial intelligence have expressed their concerns about the risks of malicious use of artificial intelligence, as well as the risks related to privacy [and] data protection”.

Guiding principles to preserve human righs

The declaration endorses the following guiding principles as core values to preserve human rights in the ongoing development of AI:

  • AI systems should remain consistent with their original purposes and facilitate, not obstruct, human development,
  • AI should be continually monitored by promoting industry responsibility and accountability,
  • AI should be transparent and intelligible,
  • AI should be approached as ‘ethics by design’ and must be developed responsibly by applying the principles of privacy by default,
  • AI should be developed in accordance with data protection and privacy rights, freedom of expression and information, and
  • any unlawful biases or discrimination that may result from the use of data in AI should be avoided by adhering to international legal instruments and established principles of automated decision-making.

However, even though many values and ethics have been advanced through other forums (i.e. Future of Life Institute, Google), we still don’t have the exact boxes we would like to tick. We can argue that the values agreed upon by the ICDPPC are perhaps somewhat utopian, or even ambiguous. Despite our scepticism,  we’re excited that industry leaders are tackling the challenges of something as potentially world changing as deep-learning enabled AI or, perhaps, AI driven by even more powerful technologies yet to be discovered.

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