Autonomous and Intelligent Systems in the Digital World: Moving from Principles to Practice
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Ethically Aligned Design
Autonomous and Intelligent technical systems are specifically designed to reduce the necessity for human intervention in our day-to-day lives. In so doing, these new systems have raised concerns about their impact on individuals and societies. Current discussions include advocacy for a positive impact, such as optimization of processes and resource usage, more informed planning and decisions, and recognition of useful patterns in big data. Discussions also include warnings about potential harm to privacy, discrimination, loss of skills, adverse economic impacts, risks to security of critical infrastructure, and possible negative long-term effects on societal well-being. Because of their nature, the full benefit of these technologies will be attained only if they are aligned with society’s defined values and ethical principles.
As the use and impact of autonomous and intelligent systems (A/IS) become pervasive and will affect many aspects of our lives, the need to establish societal and policy guidelines in order for such systems to remain human-centric, serving humanity’s values and ethical principles has emerged. What also has emerged is the development of a host of frameworks and principles to guide development and use of such systems so that they operate in a way that is beneficial to people and the environment, beyond reaching functional goals and addressing technical problems. But how do we practically implement these frameworks and principles to foster a heightened level of trust between people and technology needed to realize the positive and fruitful use in our daily lives—and how do we put principles into practice in our collective efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?
This thematic workshop will be set in the context of the Ethically Aligned Design, First Edition: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. The speakers will provide real-world examples of how to move frameworks and principles into practical application. In an interactive dialogue with the audience, they will discuss recommendations in values and intentions in ICT design, as well as implementations across sectors, industries, and stakeholder communities—contributing to practical guidance on what every group involved with and/or affected by A/IS and related technologies can to for society to advance in positive directions and contribute to advancement of the SDGs.
Monique Morrow, The VETRI Foundation
Konstantinos Karachalios, IEEE
Mei Lin Fung, People Centered Internet
Sasha Rubel, UNESCO
Karine Perset, OECD
Victoria Wang, IEEE
Session's link to WSIS Action Lines
- C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
- C5. Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs
- C10. Ethical dimensions of the Information Society
ICTs, particularly AI and Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS), are foundational to the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines. The use of these technologies offer tremendous opportunities to benefit humanity and to enable sustainable development, but if they do not take into consideration ethical dimensions, human values and well-being, nor the potential for unintended consequences, their full potential can be greatly hindered by a lack of trust. Ethically aligned design, on par with security and privacy by design, is a critical component when addressing the ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10). Further, as we look at various applications (C7) of such technologies, AI and A/IS is already is use but without frameworks and tangible guidance on how to take principles to practice, these applications can be negatively impacted, as there will a lack of confidence in the use of ICTs (C5). All impacted, including public governance authorities and all stakeholders (C1) who promote ICTs for development, would benefit from having practical and real-world examples on how to incorporate ethically aligned design into their discussions and outputs.
Session's link to Sustainable Development Process
- Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
- Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
- Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
As the world evolves, fueled by significant technological advances that aid in sustainable development and enable economic and societal growth, having a human-centric perspective is imperative. ICTs, including AI and Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS), offer tremendous opportunity for enhancing sustainable development, but also introduce challenges and concerns. Working to ensure that technology development and use is grounded in ethically aligned design--design that makes human values and well-being a priority from the very beginning--is critical to the sustainable development process, as we collective work through global partnerships (Goal 17) to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all (Goal 3), promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all (Goal 8), and make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Goal 11). As we progress the SDGs in general--from addressing access to modern energy and clean water to having just, peaceful and inclusive societies, we know that AI and A/IS will play a major role, therefore having technology that is ethically aligned designed and that promotes trustworthy solutions will greatly advance the sustainable development process.