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Materials on “AI Governance“

Core Questions




“The problem is not AI per se – but that this technology is developed in a biased context around gender, race and class. We need to build systems around the values we want our present and future societies to have.” (Read more)


“A critical analysis of AI implies a close investigation of network structures and multiple layers of computational systems. It is our responsibility as researchers, activists and experts on digital rights to provoke awareness by reflecting on possible countermeasures that come from the technological, political, and artistic framework.” (Read more)

Workshops at IGF 2019



Media Reports

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Thursday, Nov. 28

Artificial Intelligence is a reflection of society. A critical view on discussions at IGF 2019

By Avik Majumdar, HMKW, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin

The three core principles guiding emerging technologies should be responsible artificialintelligence (AI), obedience to human centred laws and mechanisms that tie thetechnologies together with human need - a consensus within the Internet governancecommunity.

With these core principles in mind, the second day of the Internet Governance Forum(IGF) in Berlin brought together a panel of high level experts on the role and future ofhuman resources in AI, as concerns have been echoing since the evolution of machinelearning and AI first surfaced.

Peggy Hicks, Director of Human Rights at United Nations, stated “for me responsible AI issomething my grandmother understands, my teacher can explain and I’m not worriedabout it being applied to my children. That means it has to be understandable, transparentand accountable.

Yoichi Iida, member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication of Japan, whosethoughts on responsible AI were based on concepts of inclusiveness, transparency,robustness and accountability, were confirmed by Mina Hanna, co-chair of the IEEE'sGlobal Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. The latter lauded theUN'S Guiding Principles for Business on Human Rights (UNGPs), calling them the pillarson which responsible AI should be developed alongside the pillar of advancement ofhuman rights and the agency of political self-determination.

Caroline Nguyen, Director of Technology Policy at Microsoft, called for discussion aboutdata that affects AI, and for empathy, problem solving training and education on AI. Incentives to support responsible AI development and usage by corporations wasdiscussed as part of universal regulations that could be employed to ensure that AI servesits three core principles.

However, the highlight of the show was an ‘intelligent’ robot called Koala that had beensilently listening in on the conversation taking place onstage. At the end of thedeliberations, Koala articulately echoed what had been discussed onstage. In a way,Koala embodied what the entire discussion had centered around, which was inclusiveness.

On a critical side note, one might say that using French and English as examples of“opposite ends of the language spectrum” to demonstrate inclusion may not have been thebest choice. Also from the perspective of marginalized communities, which IGF 2019explicitly intends to include, Koala’s seat may have been better occupied by a humanbeing with a perspective distinctly different from the ones offered by the panel.

Critical remarks from the audience also pointed to the lack of representation of “commonglobal citizens” regarding the development of the guidelines on human rights. In addition,one member of the audience brought up the plight of the population with disabilities in thedialogue on AI development.

And another critical view was voiced regarding data, which is the essence of AI: Providedthe existence of feasible data ecosystems in developing nations, AI could benefit lesspowerful groups. However, as it stands, the people behind the development of AI are 80%white males from Silicon Valley. Thus AI may be catering only to the elite. Subsequently,the data sets employed by said developers may only target an audience like themselves,not taking into account “the downtrodden and the biased”.

Wednesday, Nov. 27

EU Commission to focus on Artificial Intelligence

By Warda Imran, HMKW, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin

The incoming newly-elected European Commission will focus on Artificial Intelligence, and aim to develop a new policy initiative on AI within the first 100 days in office, the European Delegation to the UN announced on Tuesday.

Katarzyna Gogol, a member of the European Delegation to the UN responsible for digital and communication topics, announced that the newly elected members of the European Commission would focus on the realm of Artificial Intelligence. “There will be a policy initiative on AI within the first 100 days but for the moment I can’t say more about this because the shape and content still needs to be designed in Brussels,” she told ​HMKW ​students exclusively.

She further added that the top priority for Europe right now is to invest and fund research for development and deployment of AI technology. She stressed the importance of financing such initiatives as the panel she participated in at IGF in Berlin gave diverse inputs from Argentina, Japan and US respectively among others. The connecting thread between the panelists remained the OECD’s recommendations on AI and to shape an international policy framework on the topic, she stated.

For the incoming EU commission that takes office on December 1, such an announcement days prior indicates the potential mandate member states of the EU can expect. Gogol also stressed the importance of AI, digital cooperation and the role of the IGF. She pledged Europe’s support to the UN’s governance forum, adding that they need to be “stronger and deliver results.”

Cutting through the unknowns of AI

By Warda Imran, Veronica Sirianni

Amid the farmer’s strike in Berlin which held multiple vessels of public transport hostage, the United Nations’ convened the second day of its Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

To define internet governance has been harrowing; it involves philosophy, ethics, and morals. However, Sasha Rubel of UNESCO, was easily able to condense it in two words: “Collective Intelligence.” Simple yet elegant.

Rubel is a programme specialist in the knowledge societies division of UNESCO and was present at an open forum that particularly demanded attention and features multiple diverse voices. The forum focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the transformation of society. The theme of governance, the magic and mayhem of the digital age and what it implies remains the central topic of the conference.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres were trying to bring the lofty concepts down to earth - and gave their opinion on the matter. “It took five centuries since Gutenberg’s invention to benefit half of humanity, but it has taken just 25 years for the internet to reach half of the globe,” he said.

Merkel took the stage and warned of the negative consequences of censorships and internet shutdowns in different parts of the world. “Attacks on internet connectivity has become a dangerous political tool,” she said, adding that everyone must unite to protect “the core of the internet as a public good.

”Guterres underlined the unparalleled speed at which technological developments are taking place nowadays.

Tackling the multifaceted burning question of AI, the floor opened for experts and civil society members to offer their rather important two cents on the topic featuring diverse voices.

“Responsibility of AI systems must reside with the institutions that are the actual stakeholders,” Mina Hanna, co-chair of the IEEE policy committee on AI said. The conversation included many perspectives, but there seemed to be a murmur of agreement on this.

UNESCO’s Sasha Rubel said that AI policy has a direct impact on changing the way we live, work and study, adding that it influences all aspects of life.

Microsoft’s Director of Technology Policy Carol N’Guyen stressed the need for radical transformation to include women’s presence in AI related fields. The gender gap exists significantly outside the AI realm as well.

Almost 3.6 billion people still live without affordable access to the internet, and the world’s 47 least developed countries where the net could have truly had a transformative impact, 80% of the population remains offline, an alarming statistic shared by Guterres. “Only 2% of women in Latin America and the Caribbean and in East Asia and Pacific own mobile phones with internet.

”The forum discussed the potential future of AI in designing policy frameworks which can be adopted based on the OECD’s recommendations in true UN fashion. Perhaps the only flaw of the AI forum was its lack of audience engagement due to a time shortage because of the friendly Berliner farmers.

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