http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/microsoft-calls-for-consensus-on-principles-to-govern-ai/article/511214

Microsoft says society needs to talk about AI legislation

Posted Jan 2, 2018 by James Walker
Microsoft has called for tech companies and governments to develop a consensus over the values and principles that will govern AI. The company said rapid development of AI will require new laws and regulations to ensure it is used responsibly.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage at Microsoft Inspire 2017
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage at Microsoft Inspire 2017
Microsoft
Principles and values
Microsoft has repeatedly explained its desire to create AI that assists humans without having a negative impact. In its list of the Top Ten tech issues for 2018, the company reiterated its desire to base AI on "societal principles" that are followed by every participant in the field.
During 2017, AI rose to prominence as a technology with the potential to transform the way we live and work. There's evidence that enterprise executives are already convinced by the possibilities that AI usage presents. However, there are still major technical and ethical challenges to surmount, including the risk of bias, consumer rejection and irresponsibly developed AI applications.
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Microsoft said its ongoing work to "democratize AI" is already creating "building block" best practices for companies to follow. It recognised this may not be sufficient governance for AI over its long-term evolution. The company said a cross-industry effort, with input from lawmakers, needs to be commenced now before AI gets established in society. The first step is to identify which values actually need to be protected, so "sensible" AI laws can be devised.
"Over time we're likely to see the emergence of a new generation of governmental policies, regulations and laws that will govern the development and use of artificial intelligence. But these are early days," said Microsoft. "Before that can happen, there needs to be some consensus about the values and principles that should govern AI, followed by best practices to implement them. Only then will it become clearer what types of regulations or laws make sense."
Growing adoption
As AI adoption increases, debate around the technology's ethical standards will continue to grow. The discussion around AI reached new heights during 2017 and it will remain a topical subject over the coming year. As more companies begin to launch AI-powered services, understanding and acceptance of the technology should rise.
Microsoft wants to see AI in every government, business and area of society. Establishing an ethical criteria and effective set of regulations will be a critical prerequisite before this can happen. It will help to ensure trust and prevent companies from using AI maliciously or in a way that acts against societal ideals.
Comprehensive legislation that protects the workforce and preserves human values will help to convince consumers that AI is safe and worth pursuing. Microsoft said the impact will "extend well beyond the tech sector," calling on businesses and governments to join the AI discussion.