Major progress in UNESCO’s development of a global normative instrument on the ethics of AI

Governance – Ethics: Artificial Intelligence

Major progress in UNESCO’s development of a global normative instrument on the ethics of AI
UNESCO in March this year asked 24 leading experts with multidisciplinary experience in the ethics of artificial intelligence to develop a draft recommendation on the ethics of AI. UNESCO then launched a wide process of consultations to obtain the many points of view of stakeholders. This involved experts from 155 countries, members of the public (through a global online survey), United Nations agencies, major stakeholders from the sector such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, and the world of academe with the University of Stanford and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The resulting draft recommendation was today submitted to UNESCO’s 193 Member States. Negotiations are planned ahead of its planned final adoption by Member States at the Organization’s General Conference in November 2021

The draft recommendation submitted to the international community establishes a number of over-arching concepts:
:: Proportionality: AI technologies must not exceed what is necessary to achieve legitimate aims or objectives, and should be appropriate to the context.
:: Human oversight and determination: humans are ethically and legally responsible for all stages in the life-cycle of AI systems.
:: Stewardship of the environment and peace: throughout their life-cycle, AI systems must contribute to the peaceful interconnectedness of all living creatures with each other and respect the natural environment, notably with regard to the extraction of raw materials
:: Gender-inclusion: AI technologies must not reproduce the gender inequalities found in the real world, notably with regard to salaries, representation, access, and stereotyping. Political actions, including measures of positive discrimination, are required to avoid these major pitfalls.

UNESCO will assist governments and civil society players (corporations, members of the public etc.) in developing concrete awareness-raising campaigns and ethical impact assessment tools for AI in all fields…


Outcome document: first draft of the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
Corporate author: Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) for the Preparation of a Draft text of a Recommendation the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence [6]
Document code: SHS/BIO/AHEG-AI/2020/4 REV.2
7 Sep 2020 Collation: 23 pages