In a move to frame global rules for the use and regulation of Artificial Intelligence, the World Economic Forum has recently convened an AI Council. The primary aim of this council is to try and address the diverging positions adopted by nations on the various uses of artificial intelligence in society. Artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies are used by nations to advance their competitive edge in the geopolitical space, thus giving way to increased protectionist measures. Domestically, concerns include increased use of AI for state surveillance purposes, opacity and bias in algorithms specially deployed in the criminal justice system and ascertaining liability in case of damage. However, at the same time, a look at various practices and policy measures adopted by nations such as the EU, United States, China and United Kingdom reflect substantial similarities.
The AI Council, is a part of six global councils [the other councils are Global Internet of Things Council, Global Precision Medicine Council, Global Drones and Aerial Mobility Council, Global Blockchain Council and Global Autonomous and Urban Mobility Council] that have been inaugurated by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, to ‘restore trust in technology.’ Some of the broad aims of these councils include engaging in cross-country study of case studies and regulatory measures and sharing best practices, and addressing governance gaps.
WEF’s decision to convene an AI Council, calling upon members from the industry, leading policymakers, academicians and experts reflects a proactive initiative taken by an independent, impartial independent organization, notes Kay Firth-Butterfield, who currently heads the AI, ML team at the WEF. This confluence of policymakers, experts and industry heads at an independent, impartial forum like the WEF could not only bring about significant changes in terms of decision making and governance, but also avoid an AI race to the bottom.