Hand-Over Ceremony for the Draft Recommendation on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Speech delivered by Ms Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, during the Hand-Over Ceremony for the Draft Recommendation on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI), on 17 September.

From left to right: Mrs. Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO ADG for Social and Human Sciences; Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General; Mrs. Dafna Feinholz, Chief of Section – Bioethics and Ethics of ScienceSector for Social and Human Sciences. Photo credits: ©UNESCO/Fabrice Gentile.

Dear Director-General,

Dear Member of the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Expert Group for the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the hand-over ceremony of the Draft Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. This is a culminating point of months of hard, grueling work by the Ad Hoc Expert Group, which I would call nothing less than heroic, considering the circumstances and the volume of work at hand.

The mandate that the Member States provided for UNESCO in 2019 acquired renewed importance with COVID-19 and with the acceleration of Artificial Intelligence technologies to contain the pandemic and to keep the economy going. The ethical framing is essential if they are to continue to deliver for the benefit of the people.

Every member of the Bureau, with the support of our secretariat, made a commitment to deliver high quality work – and they achieved it. I want to commend particularly the leadership of Professor Emma RUTTKAMP-BLOEM from South Africa, who brought the entire group together. Emma was supported by the Members of the Bureau – Rapporteur Professor Sang Wook Yi from the Republic of Korea and the Vice Chairs: Constanza Gomez Mont from Mexico, Dr Irena Nesterova from Latvia, Ms Golestan (Sally) Radwan from Egypt, and Dr Peter-Paul Verbeek, from the Netherlands, who is the Chairperson of the UNESCO’s COMEST.

It is a pleasure to have all six of you together again, still online, but hopefully in not-so-distant future in person as well. 

Before giving the floor to Emma, I want to recognize the very strong support and leadership of DG Azoulay on this issue, and her vision for UNESCO’s work in this area. We are now well equipped to make UNESCO’s count in this important field. I would like to give the floor to Professor Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem, the Chairperson of Ad Hoc Expert Group, to be followed by brief interventions from the Members of the Bureau.

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