Mila and UNESCO join forces to emphasize the urgent need for better AI governance

The cover of the book Missing Links in AI Governance

Montreal, March 20, 2023 - Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today unveiled at Mila a joint book on the urgent need for a better governance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the face of unprecedented technological change.

The book, Missing Links in AI Governance, includes 18 articles on AI governance written by academics, civil society representatives, innovators and policy makers at a time when technological revolutions provide new scientific, economic and social opportunities while  raising ethical questions and posing regulatory challenges.

The book explores themes such as the influence of AI on indigenous and LGBTI communities, the necessary inclusion of Southern countries in global governance or the use of AI to support innovation for socially beneficial purposes. It maps out possible solutions to foster an AI development that is ethical, inclusive, and respectful of human rights.

The authors also warn against the use of AI in potentially harmful contexts like autonomous weapons or the manipulation of digital content for social destabilization, deplore the increasing centralization of decision-making power in the development of AI systems and biases embedded in them, and the lack of transparency and accountability in the industry.

The book is downloadable here.

To celebrate the launch, Mila today hosted a conversation in its Agora between two leading voices in the field of AI who contributed to the book: Yoshua Bengio, professor at the University of Montreal, founder and scientific director of Mila, scientific director of IVADO and Canada CIFAR AI Chair, and Kate Crawford, Research Professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg, Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a leading expert on social, political and environmental impacts of artificial intelligence.

They discussed the great potential of AI to accelerate scientific discovery, especially in healthcare and environmental sciences. They also addressed the opportunities of recent technological revolutions, the pitfalls and biases of current AI systems and the need for ethical and regulatory oversight of the field to ensure that the technology serves humanity as a whole.

This conversation on the present and future of AI was preceded by speeches from representatives of UNESCO and the Quebec government. A retransmission is available on Mila’s YouTube channel.

This initiative was partially funded by the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie du Québec and the Fonds de recherche du Québec.




“We are very proud to unveil this book at a critical time in the development of AI. The choices we make as a society over the next few years will have a significant influence on the future of humanity, and we hope that these pages will provide food for thought and guide decisions to ensure a more ethical, responsible and inclusive technological development.” - Valerie Pisano, President and CEO, Mila

“This book brings together a plurality of sometimes optimistic, sometimes discordant, but always relevant voices on the present and future of AI. It provides a tool for thinking about the role we want AI to play in our lives and in the world, while highlighting the need for regulatory frameworks to better frame the development of the technology, to take advantage of the opportunities it offers, and to reduce the risks it poses.” - Benjamin Prud’homme, co-editor and Executive Director, AI for Humanity, Mila

"Identifying the missing links in AI governance is not only essential for the responsible development of AI, but also for the protection and promotion of human rights in the digital age." - Dr. Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General For Communication And Information, UNESCO

“We are proud to financially support this international work, co-directed by UNESCO and Mila, the flagship of Québec’s artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem. By helping to promote Québec’s expertise in this field to UNESCO and its 193 member States, the Government of Québec recognizes the highly strategic nature of AI for Québec’s economy and international influence.” - Michel Bonsaint, Québec Government Representative in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO

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Source: Mila

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