Participants at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners have advocated the creation, development and use of artificial intelligence systems that fully respect human rights, particularly the rights to the protection of personal data and to privacy, as well as human dignity, non-discrimination and fundamental values, which they said provide solutions to allow individuals to maintain control and understanding of artificial intelligence systems. It also called for common governance principles on artificial intelligence to be established, fostering concerted international efforts in this field, in order to ensure that its development and use take place in accordance with ethics and human values, and respect human dignity.
The conference which took place in Belgian city of Brussels on October 23, 2018 saw the Commissioners adopt a declaration on Ethics and Data Protection in Artificial Intelligence aimed at preserving human rights in the development of artificial intelligence.
The declaration was built upon initial discussions at the 38th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners which held in Marrakesh, Morocco on Artificial intelligence, Robotics, Privacy and Data Protection.
In ratifying the declaration, the commissioners considered that any creation, development and use of artificial intelligence systems shall fully respect human rights, particularly the rights to the protection of personal data and to privacy, as well as human dignity, non-discrimination and fundamental values, and shall provide solutions to allow individuals to maintain control and understanding of artificial intelligence systems.
In their deliberations, the Commissioners recognized that artificial intelligence systems may bring significant benefits for users and society in many ways, including by increasing the rapidity of processes and supporting decision-making; creating new ways to participate in democratic processes; improving efficiency in public sector and industry; and achieving more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities among others.
They also considered that machine learning technologies in particular, and artificial intelligence systems in general, may rely on the processing of large sets of personal data for their development and therefore potentially impacting data protection and privacy.
They also took into account the potential risks induced by the current trend of market concentration in the field of artificial intelligence.
The Commissioners took into account the significant progress in certain areas of artificial intelligence, in particular regarding the processing of large amounts of information, the analysis and prediction of human behavior and characteristics, and in related fields such as robotics, computer vision and autonomous systems, likely to make significant progress in the near future.
The participants pointed out that some data sets used to train machine learning-based and artificial intelligence systems have been found to contain inherent bias resulting in decisions which can unfairly discriminate against certain individuals or groups, potentially restricting the availability of certain services or content, and thus interfering with individuals’ rights such as freedom of expression and information or resulting in the exclusion of people from certain aspects of personal, social, professional life.
Affirming that the respect of the rights to privacy and data protection are increasingly challenged by the development of artificial intelligence and that this development should be complemented by ethical and human rights considerations the Conference endorsed the.
The Conference enunciated, expatiated and endorsed six guiding principles, as its core values to preserve human rights in the development of artificial intelligence as follows:
- That artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies should be designed, developed and used in respect of fundamental human rights and in accordance with the fairness principle;
- That continued attention and vigilance, as well as accountability, for the potential effects and consequences of, artificial intelligence systems should be ensured;
- That artificial intelligence systems transparency and intelligibility should be improved, with the objective of effective implementation;
- That as part of an overall “ethics by design” approach, artificial intelligence systems should be designed and developed responsibly, by applying the principles of privacy by default and privacy by design;
- That empowerment of every individual should be promoted, and the exercise of individuals’ rights should be encouraged, as well as the creation of opportunities for public engagement; and
- That unlawful biases or discriminations that may result from the use of data in artificial intelligence should be reduced and mitigated.
The sponsors of the Declaration are Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France; European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), European Union; and Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, Italy.
Co-sponsors cut across commissioners on data protection from different countries including Commission d’accès à l’information, Québec, Canada; Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), United Kingdom; Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong-Kong; Data protection Commission, Ireland; Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Germany; Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC), Canada; National Privacy Commission, Philippines amongst others.
The declaration will be open for public consultation at a later date
Please click here for a full text of the declaration.