A new global standard for AI ethics

News: Artificial Intelligence(AI) and AI algorithms despite having numerous benefits have certain inherent challenges.

What is Artificial Intelligence?
Read here: Artificial Intelligence 
What is the status of AI in India?

India is one of the world’s largest markets for AI-related technologies, valued at over $7.8 billion in 2021.

The National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence was released by NITI Aayog in 2018. The strategy highlights the massive potential of AI in solving complex social challenges faced by Indian citizens across areas such as agriculture, health, and education, in addition to the significant economic returns that AI-related technologies are already creating.

India has made great strides in the development of responsible and ethical AI governance. For instance, starting from NITI Aayog’s #AIForAll campaign to the many corporate strategies that have been adopted to ensure that AI is developed with common, humanistic values at its core.

Read more: Government efforts regarding artificial intelligence in India
What is the UNESCO’s AI Agreement?

Recently, 193 countries reached a groundbreaking agreement at UNESCO on how AI should be designed and used by governments and tech companies.

Aim: To fundamentally shift the balance of power between people, and the businesses and governments developing AI.

Based on: UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Countries which are members of UNESCO have agreed to implement this recommendation by enacting actions to regulate the entire AI system life cycle, ranging from research, design and development to deployment and use.

Key recommendations: a) Underscores the importance of the proper management of data, privacy and access to information, b) Recommend member states to ensure that appropriate safeguards schemes are devised for the processing of sensitive data and effective accountability, and redress mechanisms are provided in the event of harm, c) Take affirmative action to make sure that women and minority groups are fairly represented on AI design teams, d) AI systems should not be used for social scoring or mass surveillance purpose, e) Member states should invest in and promote not only digital, media and information literacy skills, but also socio-emotional and AI ethics skills to strengthen critical thinking and competencies.

What are the issues associated with AI?

Not diverse: The data used to feed into AI often aren’t representative of the diversity of human societies. So, the outcomes produced using AI can be biased or discriminatory.

Biases in facial recognition technologies: For three facial recognition programs released by major technology companies, the error rate was 1% for light-skinned men, but 19% for dark-skinned men, and up to 35% for dark-skinned women.

These biases in facial recognition can lead to wrongful arrests from the law-enforcement authorities.

What are the expected outcomes of UNESCO’s AI recommendation?

Firstly, The recommendation will serve as a compass to guide governments and companies, to voluntarily develop and deploy AI technologies that conform with the commonly agreed principle.

Secondly, governments will themselves use the Recommendation as a framework to establish and update legislation.

With UNESCO’s agreement, AI can be put to work where it can have the most impact: hunger, environmental crises, inequalities and pandemics.

Source: The post is based on the article “A new global standard for AI ethics” published in “The Hindu” on 22nd June 2022.

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