Ethical AI Call is Being Heard

Ethical AI Call is Being Heard

The World Economic Forum’s newest risk study highlights mounting concerns with unregulated AI. UNIs call for a global convention is being heard

At UNI Global Union’s 2016 Leadership Summit on the Future World of Work, over 100 trade union leaders from across the world united to call for a global convention on ethical AI. UNI asserts that artificial and super intelligence must be developed ethically, transparently and with the interest of people first.

Now UNIs call is being answered. The World Economic Forum’s newest risk study highlights mounting concerns with unregulated AI.

We demand that politicians across the world take their role and duty seriously and work together with multiple stakeholders to find a global solution

Philip Jennings, UNI Global Union

This comes at the same time as news broke that another group of tech billionaires, including LinkedIn and eBay founders, Reid Hoffman and Pierre Omidyar, are donating large sums of money to fund academic research in the field of Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence.

Whilst UNI General Secretary, Philip Jennings welcomes that UNI’s demands are being picked up by the WEF and that big corporations are taking the all-important ethical dimension of big data analysis seriously, he cautions:

In the hands of the few

"Disconnected, semi-private initiatives are simply not the means through which the world can turn AI into a resource that benefits workers and society. 2016 saw the launch of the Big Five’s Partnership on AI, an upspring of academic research of ethical AI, and several other corporate-led initiatives on the matter. None of these initiatives include a wider group of stakeholders. If any results or ideas are produced, the public seldom gets told. This is simply not good enough. UNI Global Union maintains our call for a Global Convention on Ethical AI. We demand that politicians across the world take their role and duty seriously and work together with multiple stakeholders to find a global solution.”

Like a growing number of other business leaders, LinkedIn’s Hoffmann shares the sense of urgency and necessity of maximising AI’s value for society and the need to minimise eventual harm. But Jennings adds:

“Artificial Intelligence and machine learning depend on large amounts of data. As things are developing today, a small handful of companies own the majority of the data produced across the world. This gives them unprecedented economic and political power that must be curbed. I look forwarding to raising these issues with political and global heads in Davos next week. UNI Global Union demands Transparency, Opportunity, and Responsibility in political decision-making, in the deployment of AI and in the future world of work. Nothing less.”