Artificial Intelligence

IBM’s Francesca Rossi Selected to Join European Commission’s New AI Expert Group

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The European Commission has created a High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence to guide the implementation across Europe of its recently announced AI Strategy. IBM’s Global Leader for AI Ethics Francesca Rossi was selected for the group from a large number of applicants. Francesca gives her first thoughts here.

I was delighted and honored to receive the news that I have been selected to participate in the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. The Expert Group represents a crucial force in shaping the evolution of AI in Europe and around the world. Not only will it support Europe in reaping the full potential benefits of AI, but also it will help Europe become the focal point in the responsible and ethical development and deployment of this technology.

Both elements strongly appeal to me. I am an AI researcher, constantly exploring how to shape the future in a way that is beneficial for people and society. I am also a true believer in advancing ethical and responsible AI, a belief which has been the backbone of my work: from Professor of Computer Science at the University of Padova, Italy, to Global Leader of AI Ethics for IBM, one of the world’s leading technology companies and an early pioneer of AI.

After three decades of working in Artificial Intelligence in Europe and in the United States, I believe we must prioritize multidisciplinary discussions about the societal implications of AI. When I first started out in AI, I mainly worked with other AI researchers. But now, to ensure that AI is as beneficial as possible for as many people as possible, I work with philosophers, sociologists, economists, policymakers and more to ensure a broad and diverse understanding of the issues across the world.

Europe’s collective approach to the ethical challenges presented by AI has the potential to lead the rest of the world into a future where people and machines will work in a symbiotic partnership to solve some of the world’s most enduring problems, from discovering insights in data to treat disease and predict global weather events to managing the global economy and bringing populations out of poverty.

At IBM, we fully subscribe to an ethical approach to AI and have stated our commitments on different ethics-related issues in our Principles for Trust and Transparency. They include: developing AI to augment human intelligence rather than replacing it; providing transparency and explainability in AI systems; and detecting and mitigating AI bias both in data and models. Our Principles also ensure that clients retain ownership and control of their data in the AI systems we deploy.

The goal of the European Commission’s AI Expert Group is ambitious in vision, yet pragmatic and hopefully impactful in achieving results. The first task will be to build AI ethics guidelines, and there will be a broad spectrum of subjects to cover: bias, explainability, transparency, values alignment, impact on jobs, data responsibility and many more. As the first gathering of the group approaches, I look forward to exchanging ideas and guidance to help Europe achieve its AI ambitions and driving the agenda for responsible and ethical AI.

Francesca Rossi, Global Leader for AI Ethics, IBM

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