Eight Global Tech Companies Commit to Ethical AI in Collaboration with UNESCO

Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce, and other firms agree to ensure human rights are guaranteed during the design, development, purchase, sale and use of AI technology.

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  • [Image source: Anvita Gupta/MITSMR Middle East]

    This week, at the second UNESCO Global Forum on the Ethics of AI in Slovenia, which marked the first time that businesses have engaged with the United Nations about the technology, eight global technology companies have pledged to integrate the values and principles of UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of AI when designing and deploying AI systems.

    The eight companies are Lenovo Group, LG AI Research, Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce, GSMA, INNIT and Telefonica. 

    The agreement compels the companies to fully guarantee human rights in the design, development, purchase, sale, and use of AI. 

    It states that due diligence must be carried out to meet safety standards, to identify the adverse effects of AI, and to take timely measures to prevent, mitigate, or remedy them in line with domestic legislation. 

    The deal also highlighted the importance of stringent testing before new AI systems are released to the public, and, given the fast-paced nature of the development of the technology, it called for risk assessments and mitigation practices after systems are deployed.

    UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence was the world’s first and remains its only normative framework on AI. In the past two years, demonstrable progress has been made towards implementing this framework. Today, more than 50 countries are actively engaged in its implementation, and multilateral cooperation has increased considerably.

    Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director general, said: “In November 2021, UNESCO forged a consensus between all its member states to adopt the first global ethical framework for using artificial intelligence. Today, we are taking another major step by obtaining the same concrete commitment from global tech companies.”

    She urged all other technology stakeholders to follow the example set by the eight companies. She added: “This alliance of the public and private sectors is critical to building AI for the common good.”


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