Why Entire society needs to be involved in AI

Author: Catelijne Muller, President ALLAI Nederland

It has become my mantra over the past 1,5 years: We need a human-in-command approach to AI. And this does not refer to technical control alone: Humans can and should also be in command of if, when and how AI is used in our daily lives – what tasks we transfer to AI, how transparent it is, if it is to be an ethical player. After all, it is up to us to decide if we want certain jobs to be performed, care to be given or medical decisions to be made by AI, and if we want to accept AI that may jeopardise our safety, privacy or autonomy.

It is virtually undisputed that AI can have significant benefits for society: applications can be used to make farming more sustainable and production processes more environmentally friendly, improve the safety of transport, work and the financial system, provide better medical treatment and in countless other ways. Indeed, it could even potentially help eradicate disease and poverty. But the benefits associated with AI can only be achieved if the challenges surrounding it are also addressed. Challenges such as ethics, safety, transparency, privacy and standards, labour, education, access, laws and regulations, governance, democracy, but also warfare and super-intelligence.

These challenges cannot be dealt with by the business community alone: governments, the social partners, scientists, businesses, consumers, NGO’s, healthcare and educational institutions, they should all be involved to work together towards Responsible AI.

Why? Because AI is about all of us. About the big tech company, trying to keep up with the AI-race, while trying to respect our values. About the startup, trying to build an AI-tool to address a major societal challenge, but lacking access to high quality data to train it. About the ethicist, figuring out how to make AI ‘ethical’, wondering whether we should even want that. About the philosopher, trying to make sense of what it means to have a mental rival that is not human. It is about the cancer survivor, getting a second lease on life thanks to early detection of her tumor by AI. And it is about the radiologist, wondering how long it will take before she loses her job to that same AI. It is about our children, who will probably who will live in a world where it is perfectly normal that your phone talks to you. And it is about our elderly, and frankly about many of us, who simply can’t keep up with the pace of developments of AI. Artificial Intelligence is about all of us. It should involve all of us.

That is why we, Aimee van Wynsberghe, Virginia Dignum and myself (Catelijne Muller)* will set up the Dutch Alliance for Artificial Intelligence: ALLAI Nederland: the first national alliance in Europe to bring together all stakeholders to work together on Responsible AI.

We are deligthed to have partnered with WorldSummit AI to officially and exclusively lauch ALLAI Nederland at WorldSummit AI on Thursday the 11th of October (11:00 mainstage).

For more information, send an email to welkom@allai.nl or have a look at www.allai.nl (website live on Thursday the 11th of October at 11:00).

*The ALLAI founders are all members of the EU High Level Expert Group of the European Commission.