Today, UNESCO is launching a global online consultation on the ethics of artificial intelligence, to give everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in the work of its international group of experts on AI. This group has been charged with producing the first draft of a Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, to be submitted to UNESCO Member States for adoption in November 2021. If adopted, it will be the first global normative instrument to address the developments and applications of AI.
“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.
Twenty-four renowned specialists with multidisciplinary expertise on the ethics of artificial intelligence 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.
With this consultation, UNESCO is inviting civil society organizations, decision-makers, the general public, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, media representatives, the private sector, the scientific community and all other interested stakeholders to comment on the draft text before 31 July 2020.
UNESCO is convinced that that there is an urgent need for a global instrument on the ethics of AI to ensure that 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 that 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.