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UNESCO Member States Adopt Global Agreement on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence


Logo of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

The United Nations organization said developments in artificial intelligence should abide by the rule of law, avoid harm, and ensure that when harm happens, accountability and redress mechanisms are available for those affected.

Credit: UNESCO

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, presented Thursday the first ever global standard on the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) adopted by the member states of UNESCO at the General Conference.

This historical text defines the common values and principles which will guide the construction of the necessary legal infrastructure to ensure the healthy development of AI.

AI is pervasive, and enables many of our daily routines: booking flights, steering driverless cars, and personalising our morning news feeds. AI also supports the decision-making of governments and the private sector.

AI technologies are delivering remarkable results in highly specialized fields such as cancer screening and building inclusive environments for people with disabilities. They also help combat global problems like climate change and world hunger, and help reduce poverty by optimizing economic aid.

But the technology is also bringing new unprecedented challenges. We see increased gender and ethnic bias, significant threats to privacy, dignity and agency, 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 to provide an answer to these issues.

In 2018, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, launched an ambitious project: to give the world an ethical framework for the use of artificial intelligence. Three years later, thanks to the mobilization of hundreds of experts from around the world and intense international negotiations, the 193 UNESCO member states have officially adopted this ethical framework.

From UNESCO
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