Benefits and risks in public AI implementation

17 November 2023

BI Norwegian Business School recently organized a multistakeholder Roundtable on AI and Privacy in High-risk Public Implementations.

“While potential benefits of AI in helping to reduce the burden for humans in administrative and screening tasks are vast, the understanding of how to overcome potential adverse effects on society and individual rights is still nascent,” says the event organizer, Associate Professor Matilda Dorotic.

With vast investments in AI come also significant challenges of understanding its adverse effects on humans, businesses and society. The Roundable discussions showed that a significant lack of clarity exists on how to implement AI regulations and guidelines on responsible AI in practical implications. General AI regulation is still in high level draft versions and specific sector laws seem to be even further lagging behind the technological developments. Consequently, developers struggle to create safeguards from vague ethical standards, and public users worry about the potential adverse effects of AI on individual human rights like privacy and equality, according to the experts at the round table discussion at BI.

The Roundtable gathered experts from United Nations Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, City of Oslo (Agency for Urban Planning), Oslo Police Headquarters, privacy regulators from Datatilsynet, AI experts from Dell Technologies and computer-, legal- and social scientists from BI Norwegian Business School, NTNU, University of Agder and University of Sussex.

Dialogue and cooperation

Dorotic emphasize that the main aim of the event was to open the dialog between typically opposing sides in the AI – Human rights debate. The need for dialog and teamworking is highlighted as an important solution by all involved stakeholders. 

“The AI without data is useless, data that identifies individuals is dangerous and companies that are left on their own to curb what the proper ethical standards of AI algorithms should be face conflict between the profit and social impact.” says Dorotic.

AI plays an increasing role in the public space. Public officials rely on AI to provide services such as e-government, healthcare, and education or to empower public infrastructure, like traffic control and waste management.

With global investments in smart cities anticipated to reach US$2.51 trillion by 2025, AI is set to have a profound impact on public policy makers and services to its citizens.

“As careless as we seem to be with most commercial AI like the one in our smartphones, we are more reluctant to accept public or government use of AI in our daily lives,» says Dorotic in a recent research paper on this topic that she has published together with Emanuela Stagno, lecturer from University of Sussex and Professor Luk Warlop from BI.

Read the paper here: AI on the street: Context-dependent responses to artificial intelligence - ScienceDirect.

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