Towards an Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.

Author:Azoulay, Audrey


We stand at the dawn of a new era. The technological revolution is transforming our lives at breakneck speed, dramatically altering the ways in which we work, learn and even live together. Alongside the increasingly sophisticated use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) is undergoing exponential growth and finding new applications in an ever-increasing number of sectors, including security, the environment, research and education, health, culture and trade.

AI is humanity's new frontier. Once this boundary is crossed, AI will lead to a new form of human civilization. The guiding principle of AI is not to become autonomous or replace human intelligence. But we must ensure that it is developed through a humanist approach, based on values and human rights. We are faced with a crucial question: what kind of society do we want for tomorrow? The AI revolution opens up exciting new prospects, but the anthropological and social upheaval it brings in its wake warrants careful consideration.


The transformations arising from the technological revolution, and in particular from developments in AI, are relevant to every aspect of the mandate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Education is already being profoundly transformed by AI. Very soon, the tools of education--the way we learn, access knowledge and train teachers--will no longer be the same. From now on, the acquisition of digital skills stands at the centre of all our education programmes. Furthermore, we must "learn to learn" because the pace of innovation is rapidly transforming the labour market. Today, more than ever before, the humanities--history, philosophy, literature--are crucial to our ability to act in our rapidly changing world. In the field of culture, AI is already being employed extensively, for example, in the imagery used to reconstruct heritage. It is used in the sciences too, notably in our environmental programmes and underwater research. Communication and information are also directly dependent on progress in AI, particularly with regard to freedom of expression and access to information.

AI could open up tremendous opportunities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its applications enable innovative solutions, improved risk...

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