Governments to accelerate responsible AI

The potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform our society and lives is very well known, and we increasingly see promising applications in almost any sector from weather forecasting to manufacturing, from smart cities to healthcare. However, some concerns are still hard to overcome.

Back in 2019, a poll by the World Economic Forum surveying the attitudes of over 20,000 people across 27 countries, reported 41% are worried about the use of AI. Almost half of the people surveyed said companies using AI should be regulated more strictly, while 40% thought restrictions needed to be tightened.

To fully leverage the responsible AI promise, issues such as accuracy, human control, transparency, bias and privacy have to be addressed. That’s why some governments are at work to role-model a more ethical use of AI, and educate citizens about it.

The UK is an interesting example. With the Office for AI initiative, the government is bringing forward an innovative uptake of responsible AI technologies for the benefit of everyone. They are focusing on good governance and strong ethical foundations to support the adoption of AI in most industries, while managing its possible impact on jobs and leadership models.

Canada was the first country in the world to develop a National AI Strategy and set up a network of academic centres of excellence in AI research. India too kicked off a Centre of Excellence in AI to accelerate the delivery of responsible AI e-services. The Centre is aimed at providing a platform for innovation to test and develop solutions and build capacity across government departments.

If ethical and societal concerns should not be evaded, governments look at responsible AI as an opportunity to improve the competitiveness and resilience of their economic systems, with positive outcomes even on the wellbeing of populations. In order to increase AI and data competitiveness, the World Economic Forum suggested 7 factors to be integrated in national strategies.

While prioritizing investments in research, WEF experts recommend governments to act as a purchaser of responsible AI, promote open standards, and partner with tech companies to encourage transparency and shared innovation. The application of AI should be supported across the broadest possible landscape, especially for small and medium enterprises, but governments should not give up the control of AI data and the opportunity to measure AI-generated competitiveness through relevant KPIs.

WEF also highlights that broad-based AI and data literacy are equally important to build a population that can fully participate in the AI age. As governments recognize data and responsible AI as drivers for competitiveness and social progress, investments and improvements should not backlash against people and their hope for free, prosperous lives.

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