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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is launching the Global AI Action Alliance today, with more than 100 organizations participating at launch. The steering committee includes business leaders like IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, multinational organizations like the OECD and UNESCO, and worker group representatives like International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow.
The Global AI Action Alliance is paid for with $500,000 from a $40 million Patrick J. McGovern Foundation grant fund to support AI and data projects.
Much good can be done with AI, said WEF AI and ML director at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Kay Firth-Butterfield, but she cautioned that the technology needs a good governance foundation to garner and maintain public trust.
“It is our expectation that these projects will explore the frontiers of social challenges that can be solved by AI and through experimentation shape the development of new AI technologies. The Foundation is also committing to supply direct data services to global nonprofits to create exemplar organizations poised to capture the benefits of AI for the people and planet they serve,” Patrick J. McGovern Foundation president Vilas Dhar told VentureBeat.
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As part of that effort, the group will support organizations promoting AI governance and amplify influential AI ethics frameworks and research. This support is needed to bolster AI ethics work that can often be fragmented or suffer from a lack of exposure.
The Global AI Action Alliance is the latest initiative from the World Economic Forum, following the creation of a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In 2019, the World Economic Forum created the Global AI Council with participation from individuals like Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Microsoft VP Brad Smith to steer WEF AI activity.
Government officials working with the WEF previously created one of the first known guidelines to help people within public agencies weigh risk associated with acquiring AI services from private market vendors. Additional resources include work with a New Zealand government official to reconsider the role of regulation in the age of AI.
AI regulation is not just imperative to protect against systemic discrimination. Unregulated AI is also a threat to the survival of democracy itself at a time when the institution is under attack in countries like Brazil, India, the Philippines, and the United States. Last fall, former European Parliament member Marietje Schaake argued in favor of creating a global alliance to reclaim power from Big Tech firms and champion democracy.
“As a representative of civil society, we prioritize creating spaces for shared decision making, rather than corralling the behavior of tech companies. Alliances like GAIA serve the interests of democracy, restructuring the power dynamic between the elite and the marginalized by bringing them together around one table,” Dhar said.
In related news, earlier this week VentureBeat detailed how the OECD formed a task force dedicated to creating metrics to help nation-states understand how much AI compute they need.
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