First Worldwide Agreement on Artificial Intelligence Ethics has been Signed by 193 Countries

On Thursday, all members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted a historical text that establishes the common values and principles required for AI’s healthy growth. 

From purchasing flights and applying for loans to steering self-driving cars, artificial intelligence is all around us. It’s also employed in specialist industries like cancer screening and assisting in the creation of disability-friendly workplaces. 

AI is also assisting governments and the private sector in making decisions, as well as assisting in the fight against global issues such as climate change and world hunger. 

The agency does caution, that the technology is posing “unprecedented challenges”. To mention a few, there has been an increase in gender and ethnic bias, substantial challenges to privacy, dignity, and agency, dangers of mass monitoring, and greater use of flawed AI technologies in law enforcement. There were no uniform criteria to provide an answer to these questions before now. 

As a result, the agreed text aims to steer the creation of the required legal framework to ensure that this technology develops ethically. 

The purpose of the text is to showcase the benefits of AI while minimizing the concerns that it implies. It provides a guide to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, addressing issues such as transparency, accountability, and privacy, as well as action-oriented policy chapters on data governance, education, culture, labor, healthcare, and the economy, according to the organization. 

One of its primary demands is that data be protected, going beyond what digital companies and governments are doing to ensure greater protection for individuals by assuring transparency, agency, and ownership over their personal data. The Recommendation also expressly prohibits the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems for social scoring or mass surveillance. 

The document also emphasizes that AI actors should prioritize data, energy, and resource-efficient ways, which will help AI become a more significant tool in the battle against climate change and environmental challenges.