The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has partnered with the Dutch government to explore the creation of a framework to support ethical oversight of artificial intelligence (AI).
UNESCO confirmed the cooperation through an official statement, describing the joint project as an attempt to promote the safe use of artificial intelligence around the world. The project, called “Supervision of AI by Competent Authorities”, will see participation from the Netherlands Authority for Digital Infrastructure which receives funding from the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI).
The project will explore several institutional arrangements for sound AI governance and methods to ensure that regulations do not stifle innovation in the ecosystem.
Very proud of this partnership launched today with @EU_Commission #DGReform Develop a pioneering initiative to build institutions capable of dealing with it #artificial intelligence. The same basis #European Union #artificial intelligence Verbs and @UNESCO #Professional ethics or #artificial intelligence #worldwide @standard!
Thanks @EU_MarioNava https://t.co/Y2VbLmRzYU
– Gabriela Ramos (@gabramosp) October 5, 2023
“This is not a technology debate. It is a societal problem,” said Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO. “To shape the technological development of artificial intelligence, we need effective governance frameworks underpinned by the ethical and moral values that we all hold dear.”
UNESCO will take the lead on the project, pledging to release a comprehensive report on the state of AI stewardship globally in the coming days. The UN agency will follow up its report by developing case studies and disseminating best practices for supervisory case control in the field of artificial intelligence.
Before the end of the project, UNESCO revealed that it will organize multiple training courses to sharpen the supervisory capabilities of Dutch regulators regarding artificial intelligence.
This is not UNESCO’s first rodeo with AI regulation, as the agency in September asked authorities to impose stricter restrictions on the deployment of generative AI products in schools. At the time, UNESCO sought data protection, age restrictions, and in-depth scrutiny of generative AI tools before they were used in schools.
“Productive AI can represent a tremendous opportunity for human development, but it can also cause harm and bias,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
In 2021, UNESCO member states ratified its recommendations on the ethics of artificial intelligence, with the agency playing a leading role in implementing the convention.
A wave of supervision attempts
Across the European Union, many countries have attempted to regulate the activities of AI developers with the primary goal of protecting consumers. In Spain, the government is moving ahead with plans to create a local regulatory agency for artificial intelligence, while German politicians are seeking to reach consensus on the best path to limit the impact of artificial intelligence on key sectors of the economy.
Despite the difference in strategies, regulators agree on the need to prevent misuse of AI technology, and urge developers to comply with existing privacy and copyright laws. The upcoming EU AI law offers a glimpse into the future of regulation in the region through themes of transparency and clear labeling of AI-generated content in provisions.
Watch: Does AI know what it’s doing?
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