Policy recommendation: Responsible cloud

Amplifying human ingenuity through artificial intelligence

The opportunity

The ways in which AI can augment human capabilities to improve society are almost limitless. Indeed, with the advent of self-driving cars, digital personal assistants that can anticipate our needs, and computerized health diagnosis, AI is beginning to change people’s lives for the better. The promise of AI is that knowledge gained from applying analytics to the wealth of data that is available today will enhance any decision-making process with additional intelligence, helping us produce quicker, more effective outcomes.

Recent research by Accenture estimated that AI could double annual economic growth rates by 2035, and boost labor productivity by up to 40 percent. A study by McKinsey suggests that AI-enabled digital platforms that match workers to task-based jobs could add 2 percent to global GDP and create the equivalent of 72 million full-time jobs by 2025. And the United Nations has embraced AI as critical to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

This technology holds much promise for the future as well as providing much opportunity for us today.

The challenge

Although the potential for AI to improve lives is enormous, not everyone is confident that the emergence of machines that can perceive, learn and make recommendations necessarily promises a better future. Big questions exist, and there are much more immediate questions about what AI could mean for jobs and income inequality. A World Bank report suggests that nearly 60 percent of jobs in developed countries could be automated in the coming years. And the rapid emergence of AI raises policy and ethical concerns that touch on issues ranging from privacy and transparency to fairness and safety.

These concerns are understandable. The questions that arise are more than just reasonable; finding the right answers will be essential if we are going to create the levels of trust that will be required for people to adopt AI on a global scale and ensure that the benefits of AI are broadly shared and the ultimate potential for AI to improve human lives is achieved.

Policy recommendations

To foster innovation in AI and the implementation of AI capabilities, governments should create legal and policy frameworks that enable access to data, encourage investments in AI technologies and ensure that AI technologies are trusted.

The advent of AI is raising new issues and questions that must be carefully considered and addressed in order to support AI innovation and preserve timeless values such as respect for individual autonomy and privacy.

As AI is still at a nascent stage of development, an open dialogue between government, business, civil society and academic researchers is essential to shaping the continued development of the technology and realizing its potential benefits.

We believe that policy discussions should aim to promote broad development and deployment of AI across different sectors and continued AI innovation, encouraging outcomes that are aligned with the vision of human-centered AI.

We believe policymakers should:

Continue to convene broad dialogues among government, business, researchers, civil society and other interested stakeholders on how AI can be shaped to maximize its potential and mitigate its risks, including adoption of practical guiding principles to encourage development of human-centered AI

Stimulate the development and deployment of AI across all sectors and businesses of all sizes, including application of AI to address public and societal challenges, such as empowering underserved communities and those with disabilities, and adoption of AI in the public sector

Develop privacy laws with a view toward enabling the benefits of AI while preserving privacy

Invest in skills development and training initiatives for people at all stages of the job continuum

Encourage sharing of best practices in development and deployment of human-centered AI, through industry-led organizations such as Partnership on AI (PAI)

Fund short- and long-term multidisciplinary research and development of human-centered AI technologies and ways to use AI to provide insights into its potential socioeconomic impact

Develop shared public data sets and environment for AI training and testing to enable broader experimentation with AI and comparisons of alternative solutions to address ethical concerns

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