AUTHOR: Nature, Editorial (shortened, adapted repost)

France and Canada are establishing an international committee to advise on the ethics of artificial intelligence. The group should be supported and shielded from undue influence.

A live demonstration uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition during CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Facial-recognition software is increasingly being used to track individuals without their permission.Credit: David McNew/AFP/Getty

China wants to be the world’s leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030. The United States has a strategic plan to retain the top spot, and, by some measures, already leads in influential papers, hardware and AI talent. Other wealthy nations are also jockeying for a place in the world AI league.

A kind of AI arms race is under way, and governments and corporations are pouring eye-watering sums into research and development. The prize, and it’s a big one, is that AI is forecast to add around US$15 trillion to the world economy by 2030 — more than four times the 2017 gross domestic product of Germany. That’s $15 trillion in new companies, jobs, products, ways of working and forms of leisure, and it explains why countries are competing so vigorously for a slice of the pie.

The panel’s broad ambition is to create an expert network that will advise governments on AI issues such as data privacy, public trust and human rights. Its members will include the research community, governments, industry and civil-society organizations.

This is a welcome step, but the panel’s architecture would benefit from more discussion……………..For the panel to be credible — especially when it comes to public trust in AI — its secretariat and sponsoring governments will need to ensure that it follows the evidence, and that its advice is free from interference. To achieve this, panel members will need to be protected from direct or indirect lobbying by companies, pressure groups and governments — especially by those who regard ethics as a brake on innovation. That also means that panel members will need to be chosen for their expertise, not for which organization they represent.

To be credible, the IPAI has to be different. It needs the support of more countries, but it must also commit to openness and transparency.

The IPAI’s architects and panel members will encounter situations in which powerful interests will try to influence what they say. The guiding and, ultimately, regulation of a disruptive and innovative technology will need bold leadership. They must steel themselves to succeed.

To read more click here.