The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday urged countries to implement its global ethical framework immediately after more than a thousand technicians asked for a pause in training the most powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems .
The agency said in a press release that the “Artificial Intelligence Ethics Recommendation” provides all the necessary guarantees.
“The world needs stricter ethical rules for artificial intelligence: this is the challenge of our time. The UNESCO recommendation on the ethics of AI sets the appropriate normative framework. Our member states all endorsed this recommendation in November 2021. It is high time to implement strategies and regulations at national level,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, in a statement.
This is the first global framework for the ethical use of AI and was unanimously adopted by the organization’s 193 member states.
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UNESCO said it is guiding countries in both maximizing the instrument’s benefits and reducing risks, providing policy recommendations alongside values and principles.
The group added that it was concerned about many of the ethical issues raised by the innovations, particularly discrimination and stereotyping, as well as the fight against disinformation, the right to privacy, the protection of personal data, and human and environmental rights.
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“Industry self-regulation is clearly not sufficient to avoid these ethical harms, which is why the Recommendation provides the tools to ensure AI developments are rule of law, prevent harm and ensure that when damage occurs, there is accountability and redress for those affected at hand,” it said.
In particular, the Recommendation places a preparedness assessment tool at the heart of its guidance. The tool allows countries to determine the competencies and skills needed in the workforce to ensure robust regulation of the artificial intelligence sector. In addition, it also stipulates that Member States will regularly report on their progress and practices in the field of artificial intelligence and submit a corresponding report every four years.
To date, more than 40 countries are working with UNESCO to develop national-level AI checks and balances. A progress report will be presented at the UNESCO Global Forum on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Slovenia in December.
As a founding member of UNESCO, the US – and not for the first time – withdrew from the agency under the Trump administration.
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