News & Insights for the AI Journey|Saturday, May 25, 2019
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House Resolves to Guide AI Ethics 

A resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to begin developing guidelines for “ethical development” of AI.

The co-sponsors of House Resolution 531 unveiled last week noted that software industry groups as well as Facebook and IBM have endorsed the proposal.

Unveiled by Reps. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., and Ro Khanna, whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley, the resolution among other things promotes the “transparency and explainability of AI systems, processes and implications.”

“The broad societal impact of AI demands the inclusion of public opinion so that the few don’t make decisions for the many,” Lawrence noted in a statement. “To realize the full potential of AI, we must ensure that government, industry, academia and organizations dedicated to protecting privacy, civil rights and liberties work together to develop AI in an ethical and transparent manner. This resolution is the first step in that process.”

“Regulation and innovation must go hand in hand,” added Khanna.

Co-sponsors included: Reps. Charlie Christ, D-Fla.; Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.; Robin Kelly, D-Ill.; Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill.; Grace Meng, D-N.Y.; Darren Soto, D-Fla.; and Haley Stevens, D-Mich.

The resolution also endorses the Charlevoix Common Vision for the Future of Artificial Intelligence adopted by G7 members meeting last year in Canada. That document advocates R&D investment in AI that “generates public trust in new technologies, and encourage[s] industry to invest in developing and deploying AI that supports economic growth and women’s economic empowerment while addressing issues related to accountability, assurance, liability, security, safety, gender and other biases and potential misuse.”

Leading U.S. AI developers endorsed the non-binding resolution. "We support this resolution, which sets the right priorities for policymakers to consider in the ethical use of artificial intelligence,” said Christopher Padilla, IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) vice president for government and regulatory affairs.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), under fire from lawmakers over, among other things, its use of private data, also endorsed the proposal. “AI technology increasingly impacts people and society, the academics, industry stakeholders and developers driving these advances need to do so responsibly and ensure AI treats people fairly, protects their safety, respects their privacy, and works for them,” said Kevin Martin, Facebook’s vice president of U.S. public policy. “Facebook is committed to the thoughtful development and use of artificial intelligence.”

The resolution stipulates a requirement for AI researchers to consider “information privacy and the protection of one’s personal data.”

The House resolution on AI ethics follows creation by Congress of a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Members of the 15-member AI panel appointed by the Senate and House Armed Services committees, DoD and the Commerce Department, includes senior executives from leading U.S. technology companies.

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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