Statement on EDI and Responsible AI

By automating tasks that traditionally required the work of human intelligence, artificial intelligence has the potential to greatly increase our quality of life. Improvements in healthcare, financial services, public safety, environmental protection, labour automation, political governance, and more, are already a reality. In addition, new advances in artificial intelligence promise to surpass these improvements in the short and long term.

However, these advances in artificial intelligence carry major ethical and social risks. These same systems have the potential to discriminate against minority groups, to disrupt the lives and careers of individuals, to influence and manipulate the political and social beliefs of individuals, to exacerbate social unfairness and economic inequalities, and worse.

As experts and leaders in artificial intelligence in Canada, we have a professional responsibility to protect the public, including both individuals and groups, from the negative impacts of artificial intelligence systems. In our work, we have a responsibility to be aware of the risks that exist in the artificial intelligence systems we design, implement and deploy, to properly document these risks, and to take actions to mitigate and limit these risks. We also have a responsibility to spread awareness about the risks related to artificial intelligence to other experts, students, administrators, governments, and the public. We also have a responsibility to enhance fairness in AI.

Furthermore, many of the risks associated with artificial intelligence stem from a lack of diversity in the systems’ conception, design, implementation, training, testing, or deployment. Consequently, there is a clear need to increase diversity and representation within the artificial intelligence community and in CAIAC. This requires improving access to relevant educational programs, internship positions, research positions, funding opportunities, and careers, to traditionally-underrepresented groups in the artificial intelligence community, including but not limited to women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.

As an organisation, CAIAC is committed to promoting diversity in the AI research community as well as the ethical, fair, and socially-responsible development of AI.