IGF 2019 WS #346 Taking stock of AI guidelines

Organizer 1: Katharina Rieke, Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) e.V.
Organizer 2: Lars Steffen, Herr
Organizer 3: Nathalie Marechal, Ranking Digital Rights
Organizer 4: Gero Nagel, Deutscher KI Bundesverband
Organizer 5: Cédric Wachholz, UNESCO
Organizer 6: Veszna Wessenauer,
Organizer 7: Xianhong Hu, UNESCO

Speaker 1: Cédric Wachholz, Government, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 2: Andreas Weiss, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Nathalie Marechal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

Taking stock of AI guidelines: What can be learned from Internet Governance in the development of an ethical and human-centred AI?

International experts agree: Humanity is on the threshold of a new era. Rapid technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) – as well as other evolving technologies such as robotics, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things – are changing the way we learn, work and live together. This transformation has already begun and while it affects all aspects of our lives - are we prepared?
If we are to make the most of the possibilities offered by AI to the world, we must ensure that it serves humanity, with respect for human rights and human dignity, as well as our environment and ecosystems. Today, no global governance, ethical framework, or principles for AI developments and applications exist. As the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to grow, governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations are grappling with how to govern its applications in ways that are ethical and respect human rights.
This session will take stock of the existing guidelines and frameworks that have emerged over the past few years in order to identify tensions, commonalities, and avenues for future research and policy development.
Specifically, this session will look at the following questions:
How can governments, the private sector, and other actors take advantage of AI’s potential while ensuring that human rights are respected? What legal or regulatory frameworks are needed? What do we mean exactly by a human centred and ethical AI? What are the immediate and potential long-term ethical challenges raised by AI? What are some of the challenges in establishing ethical frameworks and principles in this field? Does this definition change in different regions of the world? What is a possible way forward and who needs to be involved in the conversation? What can be learned from models of data and internet governance in developing platforms for the global governance of AI and its developments?

Relevance to Theme: Over the past few years, many organizations that are active in internet governance have developed ethical guidelines and policy frameworks for governing the development and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. These guidelines and frameworks necessarily involve the governance of data, as any machine learning system is only as good as its training data. This session will evaluate and analyze existing guidelines in order to identify common themes as well as areas of tension where frameworks diverge, and consider how to apply existing guidelines to specific AI technologies such as facial recognition, voice recognition, chatbots, online content moderation, algorithmic bias, automated decision-making, and more. This session will also look at existing models of internet governance that respect principles of human rights, openness, accessibility, and multi-stakeholderism, including UNESCO’s internet universality framework, and how these could be applied to the development of an ethical and human-centred AI.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The area of Artificial Intelligence has in recent years undergone strong transformation and rapid development. In particular, its dynamic machine learning systems are currently being used more and more frequently and are opening up hitherto new areas of application.
It is hard to find any platform or application on the internet, that could not be filed under the buzzword “Artificial intelligence”.
Artificial Intelligence systems and digital assistants have already become everyday experiences for many people and have now also become part of the private sphere. This omnipresence on the application layer and in public debate makes little difference between the Internet and AI. It is a broader technology debate and somewhat similar to standards and protocols for internet governance we need guidelines and standards for the use of the wide range of AI applications.

Several principles, standards, and policy guidelines exist as it concerns the ethical development of AI. This workshop will bring various stakeholders working in this area together to discuss potential overlap, as well as principles of internet and data governance that could be applied to international governance of artificial intelligence.


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Description: When talking about AI there are often misconceptions. There is no general AI but different technologies and applications. Therefore, we want to start the session by explaining in a brief manner this misconception and set the scene for participants. Secondly, the speakers will discuss existing guidelines for AI in order to give all participants an overview about the topic and areas to be analyzed in more depth at a later stage in the workshop. Once this groundwork has been done and everyone is on the same level of information, we will start our breakout-part, where several smaller groups will discuss more detailed aspects of the guidelines. After having had a debate in smaller groups, everyone comes back to the round table to present their results and we identify commonalities and tensions.

Expected Outcomes: The goal is to identify common themes and areas of tension where frameworks diverge, as well as consider how to apply existing guidelines and ethical ideas to specific AI technologies such as facial recognition, voice recognition, chatbots, online content moderation, automated decision-making, algorithmic bias, and more.

Onsite Moderator: 
Online Moderator: 

Xianhong Hu, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Katharina Rieke, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

We are dedicated to promote the workshop and its goals in the relevant circles as well as try to be as visible as possible at the IGF. Interaction will be ensured by chosing an interactive workshop format and by preparing the session with concrete questions and tools in order to be able to have the most effective discussions in small groups as well as at the round table. Additionally, we are happy to collaborate with other workshop organizers in the same field to ensure that our session is complementary and thereby as interesting as possible for IGF participants.

Online Participation: 

Usage of IGF Tool


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