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AI Forum releases guidelines on development and use of AI in New Zealand

By Shannon Williams
Fri 6 Mar 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

 A new set of guiding principles around the development and use of artificial intelligence has been released. 

The AI Forum of New Zealand has developed the guidelines to help build public trust in AI across New Zealand.

Forum executive director Emma Naji says the principles provide overarching high-level guidance for anyone involved in designing or developing AI and are a first step in helping New Zealanders have access to trustworthy AI.

"We can't turn away from the challenges and risks that artificial intelligence can present, especially when good intent or inclusivity are absent," Naji says.

"We hope these principles will prompt AI stakeholders to start thinking about how to incorporate processes and measures to work towards ethical development of artificial intelligence," she explains.

Naji says the AI Forum wants to raise awareness that ethical and legal issues need to be identified and addressed as early as possible. 

"AI does not exist in a legal void. Existing laws and regulations such as privacy, human rights and liability all apply, but people tend to forget that in the face of AI," she says.

"Our principles are in good company with the recent launch of the OECD AI Policy Observatory aiming to empower, foster and monitor the responsible development of trustworthy artificial intelligence systems," Naji adds.

"The fundamental purpose of publishing these principles is not to provide a long list that leaves people feeling intimidated, but rather a succinct, useful reference point that can help lay some groundwork in building and informing good practice," she explains.

"We hope that anyone developing AI in following these principles will be better able to understand the identified risks and unintended consequences."

Naji says the New Zealand government has a comprehensive role to play in ensuring AI serves the long-term public good, including Te Tiriti o Waitangi duties.

"Our community welcomes the announcement of the Digital Council, an independent ministerial advisory group designed to advise government from a whole-of-society perspective."

Announced last week, the new Digital Council will advise on how to maximise the societal benefits of digital and data-driven technologies to increase equality and inclusivity, wellbeing and community resilience.


"The AI Forum will be offering as much support as possible to government as it embarks on these important steps," says Naji.

"We are all responsible for the application and use of technology including ensuring New Zealanders can take advantage of the opportunity and benefits AI can offer. We will be holding some events to enable further discussion on ethical AI.

 "Sharing best practice will become increasingly important as commitments to ethical AI are only valuable if they are implemented," she says.

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