Ahead of the general election in October, The Tech Users Association (TUANZ) has called on whoever makes up the next Government to commit to ensuring users are at the centre of our use of AI.
"The exponential growth of AI presents amazing opportunities alongside significant challenges, if tech companies and decision makers fail to adequately consider the needs of end users," the association says.
This could lead to opaque AI systems, biased algorithms, intrusive data collection practices, systems that lack transparency, and ineffective mechanisms for feedback or redress. Users have limited control and understanding of their personal information, which could lead to eroding trust in AI technologies.
"We already know that there is a digital divide - both in the having of tech and the understanding of tech, so while we can attempt to educate everyone, we should also be mindful of any increases to inequity that AI or its proliferation may bring about," says TUANZ CEO Craig Young.
"This flows through to challenges around privacy and sovereignty of data. AI's ability to process personal data may compromise privacy as data is collected, stored, and used without consent or knowledge," he says.
"The lack of robust regulations and ethical frameworks surrounding AI will exacerbate the problem, leaving individuals vulnerable to the misuse and exploitation of their private data."
TUANZ recommends the next Government develop a national AI strategy to address the challenges associated with the growth of AI and ensure that the interests of individuals and end users are protected. It should involve the public in the co-development of policy and governance to ensure that the national strategy aligns with our values and needs in Aotearoa.
In addition, TUANZ recommends the next Government encourage the adoption of ethical AI principles in AI development and deployment and promote AI systems that are designed to respect human values and rights.
"The development of comprehensive privacy and data protection regulations also needs to be prioritised with clear guidelines for the collection, use, and sharing of personal data, with a focus on obtaining informed consent, ensuring data security, addressing data sovereignty and empowering individuals with control over their data," Young says.
"We also need to invest in AI education and workforce development programs to build a skilled workforce capable of understanding, developing, and utilising AI technologies."
- TUANZ has put forward the following recommendations to Government:
- Develop a holistic national AI strategy.
- Encourage the adoption of ethical AI principles by the NZ technology sector.
- Develop comprehensive privacy and data protection regulations.
- Invest in AI education and workforce development.