Tools for an Ethical and Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Why do we need ethical and responsible artificial intelligence?

The integration of AI is considered as a top strategic priority by the great majority of IT decision-makers at a global level for 2021, according to a recent study by Juniper Networks. However, the research also revealed one of the most diffused concerns among companies: the lack of clear governance policies around artificial intelligence.

Given those results, the real focus should then not be on when and if companies will implement AI solutions to drive growth, maximize impact, and mitigate potential risks. The question that should then be asked is how AI solutions will be implemented, and on which ethical and socially responsible grounds. 

Why do we need ethical and responsible artificial intelligence?

One of the biggest challenges that ethical AI is facing is the lack of references. Up to these days, the industry still does not have a shared basis of values, a common proposal to define what an ethical AI is, and this clearly creates uncertainty.

At Citibeats, we strongly believe that ethics plays and will play a central role in AI development, especially if we take into consideration the capillarity of AI applications, used to solve some of the most pressing problems of our society (healthcare, migration, environment, education, gender equality, to name a few). Microsoft and IBM, for example, are just some of the big tech companies that recently have openly pledged their commitment to AI ethics, by signing, together with the Pontifical Academy for Life, FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) and the Italian government, the “Rome Call for AI Ethics”, a document that supports an ethical approach to artificial intelligence.

The fAIr LAC experience

Last Monday 24th May 2021, IDB Lab and fAIr LAC launched the Self-assessment for Entrepreneurs

Irene Arias (CEO of IDB Lab), Marcelo Cabrol (IDB Social Sector Manager), Rafael Figueroa (CEO of Portal Telemedicina), Irene Velasco (CEO of helKi), Jesús Cepeda, (CEO of OS City) and Iván Caballero (CEO of Citibeats) got together to discuss the positive impact of the self-assessment for ethical AI startups and share their experience and learnings driving ethical and responsible AI solutions.

The event represented a first fundamental step towards the development of a new artificial intelligence paradigm that puts people and the planet at the center of its focus.

The Self-assessment Tool

Citibeats’ platform brings together ethics and artificial intelligence to transform people’s opinion into actionable data.

From the ethics point of view, our analysis guarantees:

  1. Respect of privacy
  2. Bias removal (referred to the data itself, the training process of the AI, the extraction of insights, and the interpretation of those insights)
  3. Use Cases with a positive social impact (migration, health, natural disaster prevention, violence on women, and more)

As far as the AI part is concerned, our algorithms combine Machine Learning technology and Natural Language Processing to transform people’s opinions into data.

So, how did Citibeats (one of the first four tech startups to successfully implement the fAIr LAC tool), benefit from the self-assessment process? Essentially, the self-assessment tool helped us strengthen our platform by reinforcing two key points of Citibeats’ modus operandi, namely, the detection of bias and discrimination, and the just, ethical use of our technology. The first one helped the process of detecting the original bias, e.g. a social bias and integrating it into our platform. This indirectly meant the promotion of diversity and the integration of the opinions from people usually excluded or not actively participating in the debate. Moreover, the fAIR LAC tool helped us assess how our clients use Citibeats’ technology focusing their analysis on ethical projects with a positive social impact (as shown by the Civilytics experience).

“We are proud to be one of the first tech startups to pass the fAIr LAC certification. The self-assessment tool helped us confirm the strength of our mission and the value of our proposal, i.e. to offer our customers a technological solution designed around citizens’ needs. ‘Ethical AI’ is becoming more and more a hot topic and a lot of companies (even big tech companies) are embracing that concept as a core value, just like sustainability and environmental impact before. Together with IDB Lab and fAIr LAC, we are creating the background for a new way to think about the interaction between people and technology and we believe and hope many other companies will consider the fAir LAC tool as fundamental in their ethical approach to technology.” (Iván Caballero, CEO at Citibeats)

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