A few months ago, the Swiss Digital Initiative (SDI) was launched in Switzerland with the official aim of implementing ethical standards in a digital world. In light of our study, this prompts the question: which standards are meant here? In a first draft paper, the SDI alludes to the key principles of the UN Report on Digital Cooperation, the collaboratively developed Ethically Aligned Design (EAD) standards, and “applicable laws and regulations” more broadly.
Taking account of what already exists is a good start, but there’s a lot of work ahead. The EAD document, for example, repeatedly underscores the importance of involving all stakeholders. Which, of course, relates to social and political structures and processes rather than to technology strictly speaking. As I see it, everything boils down to this: ethical artificial intelligence is not merely a technical issue; ethics must also be part of the governance of AI. This entails a participatory approach that includes stakeholders and civil society. Given the impact AI has on many areas of our society, when it comes to which values we should apply to AI and how these should be implemented, I believe civil society must have a say.
The article also appears as an opinion piece in the
Neue Zürcher Zeitung