1. The government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) jointly organized the “Virtual Asia-Pacific Consultation on the first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI)” from July 23 to 24, 2020. During the two-day consultation, participants engaged in discussions on values, principles, and policy tasks regarding the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
o In her opening remarks, Ms. Seo Eun-ji, Director-General for Public Diplomacy and Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that the ROK, a leading country in IT in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sought to play an active role in both the development of AI technologies and discussions on the ethical aspects of AI. Director-General Seo emphasized the ROK’s strong commitment to objectives such as “living in harmony” and “leaving no one behind” which are addressed in the draft text of the UNESCO Recommendation, and furthermore reiterated Korea’s willingness to strengthen cooperation, based on value such as solidarity and inclusion, with UNESCO member countries in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
o In his welcome remarks, Mr. Jung Hee-kwon, Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Science and ICT, stressed that the ethics of AI were important for widely spreading the benefits of AI and preventing its adverse effects. He also voiced hope that the sharing of diverse opinions among experts and citizens from a wide range of sectors at the consultation would serve to move towards an era of human-centered and inclusive AI.
2. The consultation brought together around 100 stakeholders from a variety of sectors, including government representatives from 46 member states in the Asia-Pacific region as well as participants from academia, the private sector, civil society and young people. During the discussions, the participants shared diverse views on the first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
3. Recognizing the need for a global standard-setting instrument on the ethics of AI in order to respond to the various challenges that AI development presents to human life, UNESCO decided to elaborate a set of relevant recommendations following the decision of UNESCO’s General Conference at its 40th session in 2019.
o The first draft of the Recommendation sets out ethical values, principles, and policy tasks regarding AI systems, with the objective of increasing the positive influence of such systems on humanity, individuals, societies, and the environment.
o During the process of elaborating the Recommendation, UNESCO will gather opinions from multiple sources and hold regional consultations that will be reflected in the Recommendation. The final draft text of the Recommendation will be produced by 2021.
4. In 2019, the ROK actively participated in the elaboration of OECD AI recommendations, and by hosting the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Consultation, the ROK is continuing to play a leading role in international discussions on the ethics of AI.
Consultation has served as a forum for stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific to
share opinions and explore the interrelations between national AI strategies
and international discussions. It also established a strong foundation for further
cooperation with various domestic and international stakeholders in the process
of drawing up the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial