Unesco invites public comments on ethics of AI

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Specialised agency Unesco has rolled out a global online public consultation process on the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI).

This move, according to Unesco, is to give everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in the work of its international group of experts on AI.

With this consultation, Unesco is inviting civil society organisations, decision-makers, the general public, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, media representatives, the private sector, the scientific community and all other interested stakeholders to comment on the draft text before 31 July.

In a statement, Unesco says 24 renowned specialists with multi-disciplinary expertise on the ethics of AI have been tasked with producing a draft Unesco recommendation that takes into account the wide-ranging impacts of AI, including on the environment and the needs of the global south.

“It is crucial that as many people as possible take part in this consultation, so that voices from around the world can be heard during the drafting process for the first global normative instrument on the ethics of AI,” says Audrey Azoulay, director-general of Unesco.

Unesco is a specialised agency of the United Nations that promotes international cooperation through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

The agency is of the view there is an urgent need for a global instrument on the ethics of AI to ensure ethical, social and political issues can be adequately addressed, both in times of peace and in extraordinary situations like the current global health crisis.

The Unesco recommendation is expected to define shared values and principles, and identify concrete policy measures on the ethics of AI.

Its role will be to help member states ensure they uphold the fundamental rights of the UN Charter and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that research, design, development and deployment of AI systems take into account the well-being of humanity, the environment and sustainable development.

The final draft text will be presented for adoption by member states during the 41st session of Unesco’s general conference in November 2021.

To participate in the online public consultation, click here.

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