On December 17th 2020, the Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence of the Council of Europe (CAHAI) decided at its plenary session to grant observer status to organizations that can contribute to the achievement of its objectives. IRCAI expressed interest in becoming an observer and the status was confirmed, so we will participate in CAHAI activities in 2021.
IRCAI’s objectives are closely aligned with those of CAHAI. IRCAI’s independent Scientific Program Committees, which have emerged around various approaches to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), connect both domain experts and relevant AI experts to help identify and support promising ways to address the SDGs with novel AI approaches. Currently, there are currently five such PCs established for the most relevant topics according to COVID -19 on the list of SDGs, namely climate change, healthcare, education, assistive technologies, recycling or circular economy, and measuring the SDGs with AI methods.
In applying for observer status, some existing commitments and synergies with CAHAI were highlighted, such as the preparatory framework of the draft text of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of AI. Synergies between CAHAI and IRCAI were created through the collaboration of members of both organizations in the Subregional Consultation organized by IRCAI of the European countries of the group II to UNESCO. The aim of the consultations was to present a truly global and inclusive recommendation on the ethics of AI that reflects different cultural values, addresses regional concerns and ensures that AI supports the achievement of the SDGs. This relates to CAHAI’s commitment to assess the feasibility of potential elements based on multi-stakeholder consultations.
As a research center under the auspices of UNESCO, IRCAI is committed to following universal international legal instruments in its actions to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, with the aim of supporting the development of truly global and inclusive instruments to promote the development of policy and legal frameworks related to AI. IRCAI’s engagement with Council of Europe bodies and other international organizations in the field of AI is characterized by shared objectives, as demonstrated by the cooperation and engagement of members of both organizations in the past. In particular, we share synergies in facilitating discussions on the development of challenges in legal, ethical and societal issues in the field of AI. With CAHAI’s decision, we will have the opportunity to share our work to develop technical and strategic solutions for the implementation of AI in various fields. This can be facilitated through our activities to develop and expand existing research and technical capacity in a variety of ways, including establishing supportive research centers around the world, developing training programs and capacity and awareness building, and establishing networks for sharing research and knowledge on AI issues that affect Global Challenges that we believe align with CAHAI’s goals.