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Smart Dubai evolves its plans for human-centred, ethical AI

The future roll-out of tools for better AI and the potential of AI audit practices were among the themes addressed by the Smart Dubai’s virtual meeting of its Artificial Intelligence Ethics Advisory Board.

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The board aims to encourage fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI systems in Dubai
The board aims to encourage fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI systems in Dubai

The future roll-out of tools for better artificial intelligence (AI) and the potential of AI audit practices and cybersecurity were the core themes addressed by the Smart Dubai’s second meeting of its Artificial Intelligence Ethics Advisory Board.

 

Held in the virtual environment, it brought together board members representing leading government and private-sector entities to explore plans for the upcoming period.

 

Human-centred AI

 

The board was formed to steer the development and deployment of human-centred ethical AI, and to encourage fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI systems in Dubai. It was designed to create a multi-stakeholder collaborative platform and foster ongoing dialogue, enabling board members to share knowledge and expertise around the technology, and to explore viable policy instruments that can more readily adapt to evolving AI technologies.

 

Smart Dubai is continuously looking to develop and evolve its Ethical AI Guidelines and Self-Assessment Tool, originally launched in January 2019, to enhance government AI services and promote the adoption of artificial intelligence-based solutions in the wider market.

 

“People’s wellbeing and happiness are at the core of everything we do. This is especially important with a technology like AI that offers huge potential, but whose impacts need to be properly explained and accounted for as well,” said Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment.

 

“With this in mind, we published the guidelines to help build a safe and ethical smart city. Building on that, we formed the AI Ethics Advisory Board to explore practical applications and considerations of AI ethics in Dubai and offer strategic advice on how to regulate for responsible and trustworthy innovation in the AI field. Our ultimate goal, as always, is to establish Dubai as the world’s smartest and happiest city.”

 

The meeting was split into three main portions, the first of which was dedicated to exploring the results of the request for Information that Smart Dubai had conducted under the theme Practical, Ethical AI for Business and Societal Impact, in addition to outlining plans for the upcoming period.

“People’s wellbeing and happiness are at the core of everything we do. This is especially important with a technology like AI that offers huge potential, but whose impacts need to be properly explained and accounted for as well”

The objective was to understand the potential to codesign and test a set of diagnostic tools for use by Dubai’s AI ecosystem. Smart Dubai aims for the tools to identify bias, ensure fairness and data privacy, and explain how complex algorithms work and influence decisions. It received 18 proposals from various companies including global consultancy firms, niche AI companies, and start-ups incubated at universities.

 

Following a review from the Smart Dubai team and feedback from the board regarding the proposals, a landscape survey of government and business will be carried out in an effort to gather important data on the potential uptake of these tools, and to form a wider demand-side picture of the boardroom definition of AI, in-house AI skills, and the main current and future uses of the emerging technology.

 

The findings of the survey – coupled with insight from a more focused, entity-level AI review, set to be conducted in collaboration with partners – will form the basis of a new understanding of potential future regulations for this exciting emerging technology.

 

The first segment was followed by a presentation from multinational audit, assurance, consulting, and tax services provider PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where a representative from the firm showcased AI audit practices, citing practical examples and experiences, and sharing views on how conducting review processes while developing AI powered products and services can inform the development of a regulatory framework for AI in Dubai.

 

The final portion focused on cybersecurity, led by Dr Marwan Al Zarouni, member of the AI Ethics Advisory Board and director of information services at Dubai Electronic Security Centre. He presented the work that was done on contact tracing carried out in Dubai, offering information related to cybersecurity and ethics.

 

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