Standards Matter for Cars, Plugs, WiFi—and AI?

Standards Matter for Cars, Plugs, WiFi—and AI?

Artificial intelligence holds much promise for innovation and progress, but it also has the potential to cause harm. To enable the responsible development and use of AI, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently released ISO/IEC 42001, a new standard for AI management systems. According to ISO, this standard “offers organizations the comprehensive guidance they need to use AI responsibly and effectively, even as the technology is rapidly evolving.”

As AI has rapidly matured and broadly been rolled out across the world, there’s been a tangle of conflicting standards from big AI companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Google. (Although in November, Meta reportedly disbanded its Responsible AI group.) And the Austin, Tex.-based Responsible AI Institute has its own assessments and certification program for ethical uses and applications for AI. Yet, maintaining consistent standards and practices are also an age-old challenge over the entire history of technology. And standards-keeping organizations like the ISO—and the IEEE—could be natural places to turn for a widely-agreed-upon set of parameters for responsible AI development and use.

“If there is this kind of buy-in from organizations that are promoting the responsible development and use of AI, others will follow.” —Virginia Dignum, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

In ISO’s case, their standard concerns AI management systems. Which are catalogs or inventories of the different AI systems that a company is using, along with information on how, where, and why these systems are being used, says Umang Bhatt, an assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University and an advisor to the Responsible AI Institute. And as the standard specifies, an AI management system is “intended to establish policies and objectives, as well as processes to achieve those objectives, in relation to the responsible development, provision or use of AI systems.”

So ISO’s new standard provides a set of concrete guidelines—as opposed to just high-level principles—that support responsible AI, says Hoda Heidari, who coleads the Responsible AI Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. Heidari adds that the standard also gives AI developers confidence that “the appropriate processes were followed in the creation and evaluation of the system before it was released, and there are appropriate processes around to monitor it and address any adverse outcomes.”

IEEE, ISO, and governments consider

Meanwhile, IEEE Spectrum’s parent organization, the IEEE, also maintains and develops a wide range of standards across many fields of technology. As of press time, Spectrum has learned of at least one effort now afoot within the broad global reach of IEEE standards-making organizations to develop responsible AI standards. It would reportedly be an outgrowth of the 2020 Recommended Practice standard for AI development and use. In addition, the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of…

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The post “Standards Matter for Cars, Plugs, WiFi—and AI?” by Rina Diane Caballar was published on 02/07/2024 by