UNESCO gathers leading experts to discuss role of a global ethical framework in achieving beneficial AI

Led by Yoshua Bengio, one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence and a pioneer in deep learning, some of the top thinkers reflecting on the ethics of AI will gather virtually at UNESCO for two panel discussions on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, tomorrow, 24 November from 3 pm to 5:20 pm (GMT +1). The High-Level Panel will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, will moderate the two panels exploring the impact of AI on policies and markets with a regional perspective.

While this technology is expanding quickly, the world lacks a universal ethical framework to ensure that artificial intelligence delivers ethically and for good. This is about to change, as UNESCO is developing the first global normative instrument in the field, a Recommendation on the Ethics of AI.

Artificial Intelligence is present in all aspects of our lives and yet, there is a legislative vacuum around its development and application. UNESCO is working to build consensus among 193 countries to lay the ethical foundations of AI. It is time for the international community to ask the ethical questions and to decide what we want AI to look like.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

Joining Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), on the High-Level panel will be eminent specialists from academia, civil society, governments and business sector, including Teki Akuetteh Falconer, Founder and Executive Director of Africa Digital Rights Hub, Agita Pasaribu, Founder and Executive Director at Bullyid App Indonesia, Henri Verdier, Ambassador for Digital Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, Toshiua Jitsuzumi, Professor at the Faculty of Policy Studies at Chuo University and Andrew Wilson, Permanent Observer of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to the United Nations. The second panel will include the Chairs and Representatives of UNESCO’s Regional Country groups, that will be in charge of approving the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI at its General Conference in 2021.

Three critical questions will be on the agenda:

  1. How to move from principles to actions,
  2. How to keep pace with the rapid deployment of AI technologies from the regulatory perspective,
  3. How to bring Big tech the private sector on board.

Other topics expected to be discussed include:

  • How does the pandemic exacerbate the risk of AI being used unethically?
  • Are developing countries more exposed to the risks of unethical AI use? If so, how do we prevent it?
  • UNESCO’s efforts to adopt a Recommendation comes at a time when many national, regional and international initiatives are also addressing the challenges associated with AI. What is the value added of this instrument?
  • What is the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the field of digital innovation and transformation, and how can we ensure it?

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