New framework helps organisations ensure AI solutions are ethical: IMDA

New framework helps organisations ensure AI solutions are ethical: IMDA

File photo of Iswaran at Davos 2019
Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran speaks to Channel NewsAsia during his trip to Davos.

DAVOS-KLOSTERS, Switzerland: Singapore has introduced a framework to guide private sector organisations on how they use artificial intelligence (AI) solutions ethically.

The Model Artificial Intelligence Governance Framework was unveiled by Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos on Tuesday (Jan 22). It comes as AI plays an increasing role in Singapore’s digital economy.

The framework will help organisations ensure the AI solutions they employ take into account human needs and activities first, before using automated functions to support them.

According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the guide will make AI solutions more transparent, explainable and fair to consumers, and in turn, make it more accepted.

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Mr Iswaran said: “This is help to our businesses say look, if I want to get into AI, I have to think about these issues, and make sure that whether it’s in terms of my internal governance and measures and processes, risk management, or if it’s automated decision making, what are the risks and how do I manage it and my operational processes, my customer management? All of this has to be addressed.”

When asked about the significance of revealing the framework at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Mr Iswaran said it allows Singapore to underscore its role in driving the ethical and responsible deployment of AI, as well as gathering global feedback on the initiative.

“Davos is a gathering of global industry leaders and leaders from government and it is a place where Singapore has always had a certain mind share in terms of our abilities to contribute to cutting edge developments and governance in terms of policies and how we’re able to think into the future in collaboration with the industry,” he said.

Logo of the World Economic Forum is seen in Davos
FILE PHOTO: Logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 12, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Mr Iswaran said the response from WEF participants has been favourable because the framework pinpoints issues around AI that the world is concerned about.

Organisations can begin adopting the framework and the guidelines within.

IMDA described the framework as a 'living document', which will evolve together with changes in the digital economy.

“This is not a set of prescriptive rules. This is a framework model for companies to use and I think AI technology is too new and nascent to have firm rules but this is a good approach to shape the principles that will govern it,” Mr Iswaran said.

A measurement matrix will also be developed for regulators and certification bodies globally to assess whether organisations are responsibly deploying AI.

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This will be done under an agreement inked between IMDA, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and the WEF Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR).

Mr V K Rajah, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data, added: "The Advisory Council encourages businesses to pilot the model framework and provide feedback from their implementation experience. 

"We look forward to reviewing the comments from the public consultation and proposing improvements in the next edition.”

IMDA and the C4IR will develop a discussion paper outlining policy options on the facilitation of cross-border data flows under the collaboration.

Source: CNA/na(my)

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