IFIP TC12 - Artificial Intelligence - WG 12.12

  • WG 12.12 – AI Governance



    Anthony Wong, IFIP Vice President, AGW Lawyers & Consultants, Australia


    Amal El Fallah Segrouchni, University Sorbonne Paris, COMEST, France




    The main purpose of the AIGOV will be to connect with selected groups working on AI Governance, fostering international collaboration and bring fresh ideas/opinion from a multidisciplinary, multilateral and multicultural group of stakeholders including AI experts and students. It is also to elaborate on some reasonable mechanisms for AI governance and for the mitigation of AI risks.

    Background and context to WG12.12 (AIGOV), with special accent on AI for Humanity

    AI Governance has become a pressing issue for Humanity and recent global developments advocate for new frameworks, structures and processes for better governance and for responsible design, development, deployment and use of AI. These include:

    • AI Ethical Frameworks
    • AI Regulation
    • AI Standards
    • AI By Design and Impact Assessment Frameworks
    • AI Auditing, Certification and Compliance, to name a few.

    The Ethics of AI has also been the subject of many debates worldwide. Prof. Steven Hawkins and Elon Musk have elaborated 23 ethical principles for AI, and in 2019, jurisdictions including Australia1 and the EU published their frameworks2, adding to the lists of contributors including the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence3, the World Economic Forum AI Governance: A Holistic Approach To Implement Ethics Into AI4 and the Singapore Model AI Governance Framework5, to name a few. WEF has released a 5-step guide to scale responsible AI. 6

    The UN Secretary-General in his June 2020 report commented that, “there are currently over 160 organizational, national and international sets of artificial intelligence ethics and governance principles worldwide”7 and calls for a common platform to bring these separate initiatives together.

    UNESCO was given the mandate by its Member States to develop an international standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence, which is to be submitted to the UNESCO General Conference in the later part of 2021. UNESCO has just released the first draft of the international standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence (The Recommendation),8 following on from a preliminary study on the ethics of artificial intelligence by the Extended Working Group on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)9

    COMEST in its report, reflected that “AI is a distributed technology, whose current practical governance is spread across numerous institutions, organizations and companies, the reflection on its good governance requires a pluralistic, multidisciplinary, multicultural and multistakeholder approach, opening up questions about what type of future we want for humanity.This reflection needs to address the main challenges in the development of AI technologies related to the biases embedded in algorithms, including gender biases, the protection of people’s privacy and personal data, the risks of creating new forms of exclusion and inequalities, the issues of just distribution of benefits and risks, accountability, responsibility, impacts on employment and the future of work, human dignity and rights, security and risks of dual use”.10

    It is the general view that the time has arrived to move from principles and to operationalize on the ethical practice on AI. 11 As stated by Fjeld et al., the impact of a set of principles is “likely to depend on how it is embedded in a larger governance ecosystem, including for instance relevant policies (e.g. AI national plans), laws, regulations, but also professional practices and everyday routines”.12 The view also resonated with those of UNESCO. UNESCO has advocated for Member States to put in place policy actions and oversight mechanisms to operationalize the values and principles in the UNESCO Recommendation.

    One of the objectives of the UNESCO Recommendation is to provide a universal framework of values, principles and actions to guide Nation States in the formulation of their legislation, policies or other instruments regarding AI.13

    In October 2020, the European Parliament adopted resolutions to regulate AI, setting the pace as a global leader in AI regulation.14 The 3 resolutions cover the ethical and legal obligations surrounding AI, civil liability setting fines of up to 2 million euros for damage caused by AI; and intellectual property rights.15 In response, the European Commission has published draft legislation addressing AI by obliging high-risk AI systems to meet mandatory requirements related to their trustworthiness.

    In April 2021, in a revolutionary milestone, the European Commission proposes the first AI legal framework, that could set new benchmarks and global norms for the global regulation of AI. The global implications could be similar to that of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The proposal followed on from intense debates on ethics of AI over the last few years and adopts a risk-based approach, differentiating between 3 categories of risks: uses of AI that create (i) an unacceptable risk, (ii) a high risk, and (iii) low or minimal risk.

    The legislative proposals contained a list of prohibited practices where uses of AI are considered unacceptable. These include practices that have significant potential to manipulate persons or exploit vulnerabilities of specific groups, AI-based social scoring and, the use of biometric systems in publicly accessible spaces unless certain limited exceptions apply. Fines of up to €30 million or 6% of worldwide annual turnover, have been proposed.

    AI systems identified as high-risk are subject to more stringent requirements and include critical infrastructures (e.g. transport); scoring to determine access to educational or vocational training; safety of products; employment; essential services; law enforcement; and administration of justice.

    1 Australian AI Ethics Framework (2019). https://www.industry.gov.au/data-and-publications/building-australias-artificial-intelligence-capability/ai-ethics-framework, last accessed 2020/6/6

    2 European Commission: Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI (2019). https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/ethics-guidelines-trustworthy-ai, last accessed 2020/6/6

    3 OECD, OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence (22 May 2019), https://www.oecd.org/going-digital/ai/principles/, last accessed 2020/6/20

    4 World Economic Forum: AI Governance: A Holistic Approach to Implement Ethics into AI, https://www.weforum.org/whitepapers/ai-governance-a-holistic-approach-to-implement-ethics-into-ai, last accessed 2020/6/20

    5 Singapore Model AI Governance Framework, https://www.pdpc.gov.sg/-/media/files/pdpc/pdf-files/resource-for-organisation/ai/sgmodelaigovframework2.pdf, last accessed 2020/6/20

    6 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/scaling-up-with-responsible-ai-a-5-step-guide-for-companies/

    7 Report of the UN Secretary-General, Road map for digital cooperation: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, www.un.org/en/content/digital-cooperation-roadmap/, June 2020 p 18, www.un.org/en/content/digital-cooperation-roadmap/ accessed January 2021.  

    8 The first draft of the recommendation submitted to Member States proposes options for action to Member States and other stakeholders and is accompanied by concrete implementation guidelines. The first draft of the AI Ethics Recommendation is available at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373434; https://en.unesco.org/artificial-intelligence/ethics

    9 Preliminary study on the technical and legal aspects relating to the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence - UNESCO Digital Library; COMEST - Membres de la COMEST (unesco.org)

    10 Preliminary study on the technical and legal aspects relating to the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence - UNESCO Digital Library, paragraph 3

    11 See also the opinion of the High Level Panel Follow-up Roundtable 3C Artificial Intelligence - 1st Session, www.un.org/en/pdfs/HLP%20Followup%20Roundtable%203C%20Artificial%20Intelligence%20-%201st%20Session%20Summary.pdf

    12 Fjeld, Jessica and Achten, Nele and Hilligoss, Hannah and Nagy, Adam and Srikumar, Madhulika, Principled Artificial Intelligence: Mapping Consensus in Ethical and Rights-Based Approaches to Principles for AI (January 15, 2020). Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2020-1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3518482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3518482

    13 UNESCO first draft of the AI Ethics Recommendation, Resolution 68, available at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373434  

    14 European Parliament resolution of 20 October 2020 with recommendations to the Commission on a framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies (2020/2012(INL)), https:// www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0275_EN.pdf

    15 Three Resolutions on the ethical and legal aspects of Artificial Intelligence software systems (“AI”): Resolution 2020/2012(INL) on a Framework of Ethical Aspects of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and related Technologies (the “AI Ethical Aspects Resolution”), Resolution 2020/2014(INL) on a Civil Liability Regime for Artificial Intelligence (the “Civil Liability Resolution”), and Resolution 2020/2015(INI) on Intellectual Property Rights for the development of Artificial Intelligence Technologies (the “IPR for AI Resolution”)

    First event

    Panel (IFIP supported event) AI Ethics and Governance on IJCAI 21, Montréal, Canada (online) August 25th, 2021 with the participation of Anthony Wong, Amal El Fallah – Segrouchni, David-Raphael Bravo-Marcial and Eunika Mercier-Laurent.


    Ulrich Furbach

    University of Koblenz


    Eunika Mercier-Laurent

    Chair TC12


    David Kreps

    Chair TC 9


    Christina Zoi Mavroedi

    Epita student


    David Raphael Bravo

    Epita student


    Nominee from the Responsible AI Institute (to be confirmed by Ashley Casovan Executive Director)

    Responsible AI Institute

    Non-profit organization www.responsible.ai


    John MacIntyre (to be confirmed),

    Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, and Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, UK, Editor. Springer Journal: AI and Ethics https://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/profile/63


    Joanna J Bryson (to be confirmed)

    Professor of Ethics and Technology at Hertie School of Governance in Berlin About — Joanna Bryson (joannajbryson.org)

    Germany and UK