1 min read193 countries adopt first global agreement on Ethics of AI

The following article was published by the United Nations last November 25, 2021. It reports on a historical text adopted by all members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which defines the common values and principles needed to ensure the healthy development of artificial intelligence (AI).

The document acknowledges that despite the advantages offered by AI, it brings with it some “unprecedented challenges” including “ethnic and gender bias, significant threats to privacy, dignity, and agency, dangers of mass surveillance, and increased use of unreliable AI technologies in law enforcement”.

The full text of the document may be read here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379920#page=14

Editor’s Note: The document states that its main aim is not to provide a single definition for AI, but rather, to “provide a basis to make AI systems work for the good of humanity, individuals, societies and the environment and ecosystems, and to prevent harm. It also aims at stimulating the peaceful use of AI systems”.

While its intention is laudable, we wonder whether the UN will have the political power to actually insist that governments and private corporations follow these guidelines. How enforceable will these “values and principles” and how will these be translated into AI development?

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