On October 23 and 24, the Forum on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Latin America and the Caribbean was held to discuss the most current and controversial topics on the use of this new tool.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation of Chile; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF). The opening ceremony included remarks by Gabriela Ramos, Deputy Director General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO, CAF Executive President Sergio Díaz-Granados, Chancellor Alberto van Klaveren and Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Aisén Etcheverry.
The CEO of Inria Chile, Nayat Sánchez-Pi, participated as a panelist in the session "Experiences and challenges in the implementation of Artificial Intelligence in Chile" that opened the day on October 24, which addressed the Chilean artificial intelligence ecosystem and the importance of identifying collective challenges for the future.
The activity was introduced by the Minister of Social Development and Family, Javiera Toro, who stated that "this is a global moment that challenges us as a State to think and work in a coordinated and collaborative manner, establishing multilateral consensus, to create an ethical framework for the development of new technologies". In addition, the Undersecretary of Science, Carolina Gainza Cortés, and the Undersecretary of Telecommunications, Claudio Araya, also participated.
Besides Nayat Sánchez-Pi, the panel had the participation of the Director of Human Development of Fundación Chile, Valentina Quiroga; the Director of Liaison of the National Center for Artificial Intelligence, Rodrigo Durán, and the Head of the Digital Government Division of Chile, José Inostroza, who was the moderator.
In her presentation, the CEO of Inria Chile highlighted the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities that AI offers to reduce inequality, promote inclusion and increase productivity, among many other possibilities. She also argued that the challenge now is to advance in a model of AI governance with the aim of ensuring its responsible use. This approach involves addressing methodological issues that address the risks associated with algorithmic biases and the oversight of AI systems, from their design and development to their deployment.
In the panel, special reference was made to Inria's high-level research and the implementation of AI in different areas. In this regard, Nayat Sánchez-Pi commented that the center she directs focuses on the design, development and use of AI to solve key problems of humanity, taking into account the duality of the impact of AI. She commented that the center has developed important projects in different fields relevant to Chile and also to the region.
Inria has a very strong commitment to the fight against climate change, and therefore the frugality of digital and artificial intelligence is a direct and central axis of work both in Chile and in France, not only to understand this phenomenon globally but also to support mitigate its effects.
CEO of Inria Chile
In this sense, she comments that they apply the state of the art of AI to understand what to do to promote the ocean's capacity to mitigate climate change with the OcéanIA project, the autonomous monitoring of the ocean with the Emistral project and, on the other hand, to reduce the carbon footprint of artificial intelligence itself with the GreenAI project. The Inria expert sees these as examples of transdisciplinary bi-regional projects involving researchers from countries such as France, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, not only in the area of computer science or applied mathematics, but also marine biologists, oceanographers and political scientists. "These are examples of projects led from the region, in this case from Chile, for a global problem such as climate change," she added.
These initiatives join other projects where artificial intelligence is applied, among other technologies, which are also based in the country and address issues such as precision agriculture, automatic detection of deforested areas, anticipation of accidents in mining activities through advanced technologies such as explainable AI, and the application in different areas of astronomy in collaboration with the main Chilean observatories, among other areas.
Regarding the importance of personal data regulation for the proper use of AI, the CEO of Inria Chile argued that in the case of personal data "they are necessary in many applications but it is necessary to regulate how they are treated and therefore it is urgent to have a personal data law in Chile, today we are working with GDPR" . For this, she said that "in addition to any coordinated work on regulation, there is an important work of regaining trust, we must adopt a moral project of how AI is developed and what it is developed for. I also wanted to remember the culture of sharing, we must continue to advocate for open and public openscience and opensource as an essential axis for the advancement of artificial intelligence." She added that it is necessary to work on a global project to restore trust and for this the recipe lies in international collaboration.
For his part, Rodrigo Durán (Cenia), along with adhering to the vision of the CEO of Inria Chile, expressed the need to address trust in AI. In this regard, he indicated that “when there is distrust, the response of public sector decision-makers tends to be regulation. That is where a problem arises, since today, the legislator does not fully understand what he is regulating.”
Finally, he stated that regulation is important as a tool to reduce uncertainty and provide trust and social legitimacy, but it has to be done well, as in the European case, since they have an artificial intelligence act that is based on a legislative trajectory that Chile does not yet have and indicated that this process must be accelerated for when citizens demand this regulation for AI, which has to do with data protection and cybersecurity.
It is worth noting that within the framework of this Forum, the Summit of Ministers and High Authorities of Latin America and the Caribbean on Ethics in Artificial Intelligence was also held. This event had a shared objective with the Forum on AI, which was to promote the exchange and creation of proposals related to the ethical use of this tool in technical and political aspects in the region.
In the context of the aforementioned Summit, the Santiago Declaration was signed, where Latin American and Caribbean countries committed to deepen the regional dialogue on the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence in the region, taking into account their needs and interests. To achieve this, it is proposed to establish a Working Group with a view to creating an Intergovernmental AI Council for Latam and the Caribbean, following the ethical recommendations of UNESCO. Chile will be the leader of this Working Group and a meeting will be convened in the first half of 2024 to advance in a regional collaborative work.