Canada and France Partner to Develop Ethical AI Framework

Two G7 nations have come together to discuss how AI should be used and governed in the future.

Canada has formed a new partnership with France to better understand how AI can benefit the world and make a positive impact. The ethical AI commitment was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron before the G7 Summit that took place this past weekend in Quebec.

The collaboration will feature an independent group of government specialists, renowned scientists from both countries and beyond, and expert representatives from private industry. Members of social groups, NGOs and nonprofits will also be invited to take part. It appears that the group will work towards creating guidelines as to what constitutes as ethical AI.

“This document underscores the development of this technology that is focused on humans and inclusion, diversity, human rights, innovation and economic growth,” said Trudeau in a joint press conference with Macron. “Canada and France will collaborate to establish an international group with government experts, scientists, and civil society members. This group will become a world reference to study challenges related to AI and to define best practices.”

This group of experts will be tasked with finding the key challenges and opportunities presented by AI with a distinct focus on how the developing technology can develop social and economic benefits. From these discussions, preferred methods of deployment and oversight will be formed and then shared with participating countries to make sure AI fulfills its ethical potential.

CIFAR released a statement on the partnership, applauding Trudeau and Macron on their decision to engage ethical AI and bring it to the forefront on an international stage. CIFAR is a Toronto-based global organization that manages the $125 million federal Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, part of which involves the group working with international AI entities such as France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique.

“AI has the potential to change almost everything about how we work and live,” said Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR. “We enthusiastically endorse the creation of an international study group charged with understanding emerging AI technologies and how to ensure they are beneficial. We look forward to working with our partners in Canada and internationally to support this commitment.”

The first step to build this partnership out will involve France and Canada building out a working group to find the best way to form an expert AI panel. The two countries have invited other nations to join in as well.

The push for companies and governments to commit to ethical AI has been almost as vocal as the growth of the industry itself over the past year. Moguls like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have publicly disagreed about the need to protect society from the threat of uncontrolled AI, while homegrown efforts like The Toronto Declaration and a letter calling for a ban on weaponized AI (backed by industry legends Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, Doina Precup and others) continue to make waves in the field.