The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has highlighted a need for development of artificial intelligence (AI) in Australia to be wrapped with a sufficient framework to ensure nothing is set onto citizens without appropriate ethical consideration. The organisation has published a discussion paper [PDF], Artificial Intelligence: Australia's Ethics Framework, on the key issues raised by large-scale AI, seeking answers to a handful of questions that are expected to inform the government's approach to AI ethics in Australia. Highlighted by CSIRO are eight core principles that will guide the framework: That it generates net-benefits, does no harm, complies with regulatory and legal requirements, appropriately considers privacy, boasts fairness, is transparent and easily explained, contains provisions for contesting a decision made by a machine, and that there is an accountability trail. "Australia's colloquial motto is a'fair go' for all. Ensuring fairness across the many different groups in Australian society will be challenging, but this cuts right to the heart of ethical AI," CSIRO wrote.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology which is increasingly being utilised in society and the economy worldwide, and its implementation is planned to become more prevalent in coming years. AI is increasingly being embedded in our lives, supplementing our pervasive use of digital technologies. But this is being accompanied by disquiet over problematic and dangerous implementations of AI, or indeed, even AI itself deciding to do dangerous and problematic actions, especially in fields such as the military, medicine and criminal justice. These developments have led to concerns about whether and how AI systems adhere, and will adhere to ethical standards. These concerns have stimulated a global conversation on AI ethics, and have resulted in various actors from different countries and sectors issuing ethics and governance initiatives and guidelines for AI. Such developments form the basis for our research in this report, combining our international and interdisciplinary expertise to give an insight into what is happening in Australia, China, Europe, India and the US.
SAP has released its guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI). Recognizing the significant impact of AI on people, our customers, and wider society, SAP designed these guiding principles to steer the development and deployment of our AI software to help the world run better and improve people's lives. For us, these guidelines are a commitment to move beyond what is legally required and to begin a deep and continuous engagement with the wider ethical and socioeconomic challenges of AI. We look forward to expanding our conversations with customers, partners, employees, legislative bodies, and civil society; and to making our guiding principles an evolving reflection on these discussions and the ever-changing technological landscape. We recognize that, like with any technology, there is scope for AI to be used in ways that are not aligned with these guiding principles and the operational guidelines we are developing.
Who should be on the ethics board of a tech company that's in the business of artificial intelligence (A.I.)? Given the attention to the devastating failure of Google's proposed Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) earlier this year, which was announced and then canceled within a week, it's crucial to get to the bottom of this question. Google, for one, admitted it's "going back to the drawing board." Tech companies are realizing that artificial intelligence changes power dynamics and as providers of A.I. and machine learning systems, they should proactively consider the ethical impacts of their inventions. That's why they're publishing vision documents like "Principles for A.I." when they haven't done anything comparable for previous technologies.
While AI has dominated news headlines over the past year or so, the majority of announcements and research has been around the ethics of the technology and how to manage or avoid bias in data. In April 2019, a fortnight after it was launched, Google scrapped its independent group set up to oversee the technology corporation's efforts in AI tools such as machine learning and facial recognition. The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) was shut down after one member resigned and there were calls for Kay Coles James, president of conservative thinktank The Heritage Foundation to be removed after "anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant" comments, as reported by the BBC. Google told the publication that it had "become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can't function as we wanted. We'll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics."