Why we need an AI code of ethics

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Artificial intelligence is now a reality, but where is the fine ethical line between us and it, asks Kapil Chaudhary

Big data and artificial intelligence are not just buzzwords anymore. Companies across the world are swiftly adopting these technologies in their everyday businesses.

In 2019, Fortune 1000 companies are expected to increase their big data and artificial intelligence (AI) investments by an astonishing 91.6%, according to a survey by NewVantage Partners, a big data and business consultancy company. American tech giant Accenture forecasts that AI has the potential to add US$957 billion to India’s gross domestic product by 2035 and lift the country’s gross value added by 15% in the same period.

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Kapil Chaudhary

With the increasing adoption of AI and machine learning, many companies are now waking up to their ethical dimensions. A survey of 1,400 US executives by Deloitte last year found that 32% believed that ethical issues constitute one of the top three risks of AI. However, most organizations do not yet have specific approaches to deal with AI ethics. It is time for policymakers, thinkers and technology-focused lawyers in India and elsewhere to start looking at issues of digital ethics and developing regulatory and governance frameworks for AI systems.

In June 2018, the government of India put out a discussion paper setting out a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The paper discusses the idea of establishing a sectoral regulatory framework to address the privacy issues associated with using AI. The framework involves collaborating with the industry to come up with sector-specific guidelines on privacy, security, ethics for manufacturing, financial services, identity, telecommunications and robotics sectors.

Elsewhere in the world, various principles and models for legal frameworks to handly AI are being discussed.

AI governance

Some of the guiding principles that are currently being looked at as core values when dealing with an ethical framework for AI are the following:

  1. Fairness. Respect for fundamental human rights and compliance with the fairness principle;
  2. Accountability. Continued attention and vigilance over the potential effects and consequences of AI;

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