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World Economic Forum Launches Global Initiative To Advance Responsible Artificial Intelligence

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The World Economic Forum announced Thursday the launch of the Global AI Action Alliance (GAIA), a new flagship initiative to accelerate the adoption of inclusive, transparent and trusted artificial intelligence globally.

AI holds the promise of making organizations 40% more efficient by 2035, unlocking an estimated $14 trillion in new economic value. But as AI’s transformative potential has become clear, so, too, have the risks posed by unsafe or unethical AI systems.

Recent controversies on facial recognition, automated decision-making and COVID-19 tracking have shown that realizing AI’s potential requires strong buy-in from citizens and governments, based on their trust that AI is being built and used ethically.

Recognizing this, over 175 organizations have proposed ethical AI principles. While this explosive growth in AI principles is welcome, it has created fragmentation. Further effort is required to translate these principles into practical tools for organizations to ensure AI’s positive future.

The GAIA is a new, multistakeholder collaboration platform designed to accelerate the development and adoption of such tools globally and in industry sectors. The Alliance brings together over 100 leading companies, governments, international organizations, non-profits and academics united in their commitment to maximizing AI’s societal benefits while minimizing its risks.

“AI holds the potential to deliver enormous benefits to society, but only if it is used responsibly. We are launching the Global AI Action Alliance along with our partners to shape a positive, human-centred future for AI at this decisive moment in its development,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

Members of the Alliance work together to identify and implement the most promising tools and practices for ensuring that AI systems are ethical and serve all society members, including groups historically under-represented in the AI ecosystem. Supported by a grant from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the Alliance provides a community for real-time learning and rapid scaling of proven approaches to ethical AI, as well as a forum to accelerate collective action on emerging challenges and issues.

A Steering Committee consisting of top global leaders from industry, government, academia and civil society guides the Alliance. The Steering Committee is co-chaired by Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM, and Vilas Dhar, President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a global AI and data philanthropy. 

Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM and Co-Chair of the Alliance’s Steering Committee, said: “It is an honour to co-lead the Global AI Action Alliance and to contribute IBM’s expertise in AI ethics to accelerate the group’s work. I am confident that together we can make the promise and benefits of responsible AI a reality across our society.”

Vilas Dhar, President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and Co-Chair of the Alliance’s Steering Committee, said: “In this pivotal year of global transformation, AI can be a powerful enabler of greater equity, justice and prosperity. To align stakeholders in this shared vision, GAIA offers the opportunity to bring together diverse voices, learn from success and failures, and build shared technology that amplifies the very best of humanity.”

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director and member of the Steering Committee, joins the panel discussion launching the Alliance. “Technologies like AI are fundamentally changing the ways in which children learn, play and relate to each other,” she said. “Children and young people are major users of AI. More needs to be done to help them benefit from the opportunity it offers while protecting them from the risks it poses. We are happy to be part of the Global AI Action Alliance to help make AI work for, and protect, every child.”

The Alliance will be supported in its mission by leading non-profits committed to driving cutting-edge projects focused on key impact areas and unmet needs, including AI Global, the Institute of AI, AI and You, and EqualAI. Initial areas of focus include:

  • Educating government and industry leaders on AI risks, opportunities and best practices
  • Fostering international peer learning between legislators focused on AI
  • Driving responsible product design and use within AI-driven organizations
  • Developing a certification mark for responsible AI systems
  • Identifying and reducing bias in AI systems
  • Increasing inclusion in the AI ecosystem and expanding AI’s benefit to underserved groups
  • Unlocking access to justice through the application of AI in judicial systems
  • Leveraging AI to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Preparing citizens for the AI future and empowering them to help shape it 

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