AI facts

New Zealand examining AI ethical framework

The government of New Zealand is considering an ethical framework and an action plan on how to deal with the impacts of artificial intelligence. The announcement came after a group of companies and organisations in the country raised ethical concerns about AI.

“There are long-term implications for core legal principles like legal responsibility, agency and causation. AI raises many new ethical concerns relating to bias, fairness, transparency and accountability”, the Artificial Intelligence Forum of New Zealand (AIFNZ) writes in a recent report.

New Zealand’s Minister for Government Digital Services Clare Curran says an action plan and ethical framework are urgently needed. “An ethical framework will give people the tools to participate in conversations about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications in our society and economy,” Curran says.

The AIFNZ, a group of 43 organisations, in it’s report gives the example of an AI system that makes recommendations to banks on whether people can apply for a loan. “In a traditional banking environment, if you weren’t successful you can ask why you weren’t approved for a loan and receive a reply. But if a loan is turned down by an AI system, it won’t necessarily be able to explain why, even with extensive auditing features.”

“Currently, there are no laws requiring the developer of an AI system to design the system so that it can explain its decisions. In fact, in many cases, the algorithms are proprietary and the company who created them won’t have to unless legally compelled to,” the AIFNZ says.