Humanity 5.0 without neglect is our biggest and most difficult challenge, but it is worth the effort
Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO, Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Slovenian Minister for Digital Transformation, Simona-Mirela Miculescu, President of the 42nd session of the General Conference of UNESCO.
The most frequently mentioned words were trust, fairness, justice, safety, security, protection, accountability, transparency, privacy, beneficial use, and, of course, ethics and Artificial Intelligence.
Following Gabriela Ramos' opening remarks on the need for the business world to work together to develop a common framework for the governance of Artificial Intelligence in order to make it better for people and to benefit innovation and business development, representatives from Telefonica, Microsoft, Mastercard, LG, and several other companies shared their experiences and reaffirmed their commitment to ethical standards during a panel discussion on the ethical foundations of the use of Artificial Intelligence in the business world. Among them was Danica Purg, who 38 years ago founded the first business school in Slovenia and one of the first of its kind in Central Europe at that time, where after only three years, the subject of ethics in management was introduced, and soon the subjects of sustainable development and the art of management were added.
In the following discussion on AI, panelists noted that in the justice sector, AI is a subject of conversation in its use by the judiciary and judicial actors, intending to preserve human rights and the rule of law and promote access to justice. Although AI-related regulatory proposals are evolving in some jurisdictions, AI systems are being deployed worldwide. There is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary to apply existing international human rights standards to address legal and human rights threats posed by the use of AI. At the same time, there are opportunities to use systems in the judiciary to improve administrative procedures, enhance access to justice, and advocate for the ethical use of AI.
"Technologies affect all of us, not just a certain gender, and if we collect data mainly only for men, we cannot talk about inclusive AI, because in this case, it discriminates against a large part of the population," said Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Minister for Digital Transformation, on bridging the gender gap through AI at the Women4Ethics platform. The panelists were Gabriela Ramos and Alessandra Sala from UNESCO, Constanza Gomez Mont, who is involved in the use of AI in addressing climate change, Ana Prica-Cruceanu from the Association of Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology, Arisa Ema, Professor at the University of Tokyo, Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem, Professor of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, Elena Estavillo from Mexico 's Federal Telecommunications Institute, Emma Wright, member of the Interparliamentary Forum on Emerging Technologies, Sara Ratner, Research Officer at the University of Oxford, and Jana Javornik, Associate Professor at the University of Leeds. They stressed that women must be part of the decision-making process and that the female perspective must be taken into account in reality and in AI, which should be based on an inclusive ethical approach for all. The gender gap is the result of historical social discrimination, and it is systems that need to be fixed, not women (Elena Estavillo); but because AI is created by humans, it internalises all the inequalities that exist between people (Jana Javornik). Humanity 5.0 without neglect is our biggest and most difficult challenge, but it is worth the effort (Ana Prica-Cruceanu).
Participants in the penultimate panel discussion of the day, entitled "UNESCO's Guidelines on the Governance of Digital Platforms: Implications for AI Regulation", discussed the intersections of the Guidelines with the regulation of AI, focusing on three cross-cutting issues: AI and gender-based violence, AI and media, information literacy, and AI and elections. The information gathered at this session will be used in the strategy for operationalising the guidelines.
AI processes and systems are too important and complex to be decided by a few stakeholders. Multi-stakeholder collaboration in a community that includes academia, civil society, and the private sector can foster good governance of AI and ensure that AI benefits all, these were the highlights of today's final panel discussion, 'All hands on deck: shaping an inclusive future of AI'. Panelists highlighted the contribution and importance of civil society in the governance of AI with several participants, and shared lessons learned from the implementation of UNESCO's recommendations at the state level, where civil society actively contributes to the readiness assessment and provides an evidence base and tailored recommendations for policy action. They discussed strategies and examples for broadening public and multi-stakeholder participation in global AI governance to achieve more inclusive and informed decision-making, to align AI development with societal values, and to take into account the negative impacts of AI.
In addition to the panel discussions, Minister for Digital Transformation, Emilija Stojmenova Duh, also held several bilateral meetings with Maria Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mayte Ledo Turiel, Spanish Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, Abdullah Al Ghamdi, President of the Saudi Data and AI Authority, Alexandra van Huffelen, Dutch Minister for Digitalisation, Aisen Echeverry, Chilean Minister of Science, Amandeep Gill, UN Under-Secretary-General and Tech Envoy, Laurence Ndong, Gabon's Minister of Communication and Media, and Joshua Black, Adviser to the US President and Director of Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council.
At the end of the second Global Forum on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Gabriela Ramos did not spare praise for Slovenia ("Everything was perfect in the organisation, you have set high standards."), and the great value of the Forum for her was the opportunity for many people-to-people meetings. For UNESCO, she said, the Global Forum was not just one conference, but a catalyst for action and a signpost for action.
Simona-Mirela Miculescu, President of the 42nd session of the UNESCO General Conference, summed up the quest for global justice for all by saying that our aspirations for well-being are interconnected and no one can truly succeed without working together with others.
For Emilia Stojmenova Duh, Minister for Digital Transformation, cooperation is also key. We do not have to do everything ourselves, and we do not have to start from scratch, but in doing so we need global standards. Our basic needs are the same, we all want dignity, freedom, and respect for human rights, and it is always about people's ethics. People also own the data, not governments or companies, and trust can be ensured through transparency: AI algorithms and models belong to all of us and are seen as a public good. It is our shared responsibility to make AI work for everyone, no matter where someone lives or what gender they are," concluded Minister Stojmenova Duh.