Cabinet takes up artificial intelligence (AI) ethics guidelines

Thailand is taking up a draft set of guidelines for the ethical use of artificial intelligence, or AI, to set boundaries and reduce concerns that this trailblazing new technology could be misused.

“AI is a powerful tool that can be used both positively and negatively,” said Vunnaporn Devahastin, Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Committee (NDESC).

Consequently, the NESDC had drawn up a set of official guidelines and submitted them to the cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, where they are expected to receive swift approval.

AI-driven technologies are an essential component of Thailand’s ongoing drive to achieve a higher level of economic and social development. Digital industries and research and development into higher technologies are priority sectors for which the government is providing support in terms of infrastructure, investments and policies.

While many, particularly the young and highly educated, are embracing AI, robotics and other advances, others feel, however, that the new technologies, and AI, in particular, could be a “Pandora’s box,” because of their potential to be misused.

Vunnaporn said that AI needs to be researched, developed, designed and employed in ways that comply with laws, norms and ethics. Its use should never violate human rights or breach privacy. Ethics and international standards must be taken into account.

The NDESC is working on ethics guidelines for other digital technologies that it expects would be rolled out in the future.

The committee’s ethics guidelines state that AI technology must be human-centered and not designed to take command of human destiny. It must be transparent, and all stakeholders, ranging from researchers and designers to developers to users, need to have accountability.

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