Q1/2019 - UNESCO
Conference “Principles for AI: Towards a Humanistic Approach?”
UNESCO discussed artificial intelligence at a high-level conference with more than 300 attendants from 100 countries on 4 March 2019. The central issue were the ROAM principles for Internet universality advocated by UNESCO (ROAM stands for Rights, Openness, Access and Multistakeholderism) and how to apply them when developing policies for artificial intelligence.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay claimed in her keynote that UNESCO plays a leading role in the further political discussion on AI. The “S” in the name of UNESCO stands for “Science”, she said. So it was a core duty of UNESCO as a scientific organisation and due to its constitutional mandate to deal with that topic. For UNESCO it was of particular importance that the evolution and application of artificial intelligence did not undermine human rights, in particular the rights to freedom of expression, protection of privacy and equal participation in public life, but helped to strengthen them.
José Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), spoke out for closely linking the various international AI initiatives. He offered UNESCO close cooperation with OECD and proposed to link these efforts with the activities of Canada and France within the framework of G7 and with those of other expert groups, such as IEEE. He suggested the IGF in Berlin 2019 to be used as a platform for continuing the discussion.
In a separate paper titled “Steering AI for Knowledge Societies”, UNESCO had explained in detail how the ROAM principles could be applied to AI developments. An action plan containing eleven measures had been submitted. The paper and the results of the conference were presented on 21 March 2019 in Geneva at the 40th Meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.