193 countries adopt the first global agreement on the ethics of artificial intelligence – global issues

Artificial intelligence is present in everyday life from booking flights and applying for a loan to driving driverless cars. It is also used in specialized areas such as cancer screening or to create inclusive environments for the disabled.

According to UNESCO, AI also supports the decision-making of governments and the private sector, as well as helping to combat global problems such as climate change and world hunger.

However, the agency warns that the technology ‘brings unprecedented challenges’.

We see increased gender and ethnic inequality, significant threats to privacy, dignity and freedom of action, dangers of mass surveillance, and increased use of unreliable AI technologies in law enforcement, to name a few. Until now, there were no universal standards for answering these questions, ”UNESCO explained in a statement.

In view of this, the adopted text aims to guide the construction of the necessary legal infrastructure to ensure the ethical development of this technology.

“The world needs rules of artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity. The recommendation on AI ethics is an important answer. It sets the first global normative framework while giving states the responsibility to apply it at their level. UNESCO will support its 193 member states in the implementation and ask them to report regularly on their progress and practices, “said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

The rise in data is the key to advances in artificial intelligence.

Unsplash / Maxime Valcarce

The rise in data is the key to advances in artificial intelligence.

AI as a positive contribution to humanity

The text aims to highlight the benefits of artificial intelligence while reducing the risks it also entails. According to the Agency, it provides a guide to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the goals of sustainable development, addressing issues of transparency, accountability and privacy, with action-oriented policy chapters on data management, education, culture, labor, healthcare and finance.

One of its most important calls is to protect data, which goes beyond what tech companies and governments do to guarantee individuals more protection by ensuring transparency, freedom of action and control over their personal data. The recommendation also explicitly prohibits the use of AI systems for social scoring and mass surveillance.

The text also emphasizes that AI actors should favor data-, energy- and resource-efficient methods that will help ensure that AI becomes a more prominent tool in the fight against climate change and in tackling environmental issues.

“Decisions that affect millions of people should be fair, transparent and challenging. These new technologies should help us deal with the major challenges in our world today, such as rising inequalities and the environmental crisis, and not deepen them.” said Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO’s Deputy Director – General for Social and Human Sciences.

You can read the full text here.

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