Artificial Intelligence: Helsinki conference conclusions

AI should be developed in a human-centric manner to produce benefits for individuals and for societies
Helsinki 27 February 2019
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Artificial Intelligence: Helsinki conference conclusions

The two-day conference Governing the Game Changer – Impacts of artificial intelligence development on human rights, democracy and the rule of law was organised by the Council of Europe and the Finnish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

Key messages from the high-level and inter-disciplinary Helsinki conference can be found in the Conference conclusions.

The Conference conclusions propose guidance for the way forward to ensure that AI development occurs safely and for the benefit of all, which should include the following points:

  • Timely and thoughtful policy responses should be placed at the top of governments' political agendas;
  • The economic benefits deriving from AI cannot be realised without duly respecting the shared values of democratic societies;
  • States and all stakeholders are required to coordinate efforts and, inter alia, share information and good practices;
  • AI should be developed in a human-centric manner to produce benefits for individuals and for societies;
  • A clearer understanding of AI and its impacts requires investment in inter-disciplinary and independent research into its direct and indirect effects on individuals and societies in concrete contexts;
  • Effective supervisory mechanisms and democratic oversight structures regarding the design, development and deployment of AI must be in place;
  • Public awareness of the potential risks and benefits of AI must be enhanced and necessary new competencies and skills developed;
  • Effective and legitimate mechanisms to prevent human rights violations and thwart discrimination, inequality and bias are necessary;
  • Algorithmic transparency is crucial for building trust and ensuring due rights protection;
  • Equality before the law should not be compromised by algorithmic calculation;
  • Existing landmark international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, are applicable irrespective of contextual changes brought about by AI and must be complied with to ensure that technological progress occurs in line with the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
  • The Council of Europe should continue to develop sector-specific recommendations, guidelines and codes of conduct to promote human rights and the viability of democratic institutions and processes. It should identify possible gaps in applicability and enforceability of existing regulatory frameworks and assess the need for further measures to ensure human rights compliant development, design and deployment of AI.


Press coverage

Conference Conclusions by Aeva Aittoniemi and Patrick Pennincx: