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Responsible AI - An Overview

  • Ashesh Anand
  • Sep 22, 2021
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) may conjure up images of growth and productivity in the minds of some. Others, on the other hand, have a more pessimistic attitude. Many legitimate issues exist, including biased choices, labor replacement, and a lack of privacy and security. 


To make matters worse, several of these difficulties are specific to artificial intelligence. This means that present policies and legislation are ineffective in dealing with them. This is where the concept of Responsible AI comes into play. Its goal is to address these difficulties and make AI systems more accountable. 

Responsible AI is a governance framework that outlines how a specific organization is tackling the ethical and legal issues around artificial intelligence (AI). An essential motivation for responsible AI endeavors is resolving ambiguity about who is liable if something goes wrong.


( Also Read: Innovations in AI )


What is Responsible AI?


Responsible AI is a new topic of AI governance, with the phrase "responsible" serving as a catch-all term that encompasses both ethics and democratization.


When we talk about AI, we usually refer to a machine learning model that is used to automate something within a system. A self-driving automobile, for example, can capture photos from sensors. 

These photos can be used by a machine learning model to make predictions (e.g. the object in front of us is a tree). The automobile makes decisions based on these forecasts (e.g. turn left to avoid the tree). This entire system is referred to as AI.

This is just one illustration. AI may be utilized for a variety of tasks, including insurance underwriting and cancer detection. The defining trait is that the system's judgments are made with little or no human involvement. 


This can lead to a slew of problems, therefore businesses must establish a clear strategy for implementing AI. Responsible AI is a governance system that aims to accomplish just that.

Watch this Video from Google on “ Responsible AI: Theory to Practice”:


Although the CEOs of Microsoft and Google have publicly called for AI laws, there are currently no rules for accountability when AI programming has unintended repercussions as of this writing. 


The data used to train machine learning models can frequently introduce bias into AI. When the training data is skewed, the programming's decisions are likely to be skewed as well.


( Suggested Read - Machine learning algorithms )


As software programs with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities become more ubiquitous, it is becoming clear that AI standards beyond those outlined by Isaac Asimov in his "Three Laws of Robotics" are needed. 


For a variety of reasons, the technology can be misused inadvertently (or on purpose), and much of the misuse is driven by bias in the data used to train AI programs.


Details on what data can be collected and used, how models should be evaluated, and how to effectively deploy and monitor models can all be included in the framework. 


The methodology can also be used to determine who is responsible for any unfavorable AI consequences. Companies will have different frameworks. 


Some will outline precise approaches, while others will be more ambiguous. They're all trying to accomplish the same objective. That is, to develop AI systems that are understandable, fair, secure, and sensitive to the privacy of users.


“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. The question is how best to approach this,” 

- Sundar Pichai (Google CEO) (source)


( Suggested: Why securing AI is Important? )



Examples of Firms Embracing Responsible AI


1. IBM 


IBM maintains an artificial intelligence ethics board that deals only with ethical questions relating to AI. The IBM AI Ethics Board serves as a focal point for the company's efforts to develop ethical and responsible AI. IBM focuses on a number of guidelines and tools, including:


  • AI transparency and trust


  • AI ethics in the real world


  • Resources provided by the open-source community


  • Study into the development of reliable artificial intelligence



2. Microsoft


Using the AETHER Committee and Office of Responsible AI (ORA) groups, Microsoft has developed its own framework for responsible AI governance. These two teams collaborate inside Microsoft to promote and defend the responsible AI ideals that they have established. 


By implementing governance and public policy, ORA sets company-wide norms for responsible AI. Microsoft has put in place a set of rules, criteria, and templates for ethical AI development. Here are a few instances:


  • Interaction rules between humans and artificial intelligence


  • Guidelines for conversational AI systems


  • Design standards that take people with disabilities into consideration


  • Checklists for justice in artificial intelligence


  • Datasheet template docs


  • Advice on AI safety engineering


Watch this video on “Microsoft’s Approach to create a Responsible AI”


Principles of a Responsible AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) and the machine learning models that underpin it should be comprehensive, explainable, ethical, and effective.


  • Comprehensive - To prevent machine learning from being easily hijacked, comprehensive AI requires clearly defined testing and governance criteria.


  • Explainable - Explainable AI is intended to explain its goal, logic, and decision-making process in a way that the typical user can comprehend.


  • Ethical - Ethical AI efforts employ procedures for identifying and eliminating bias in machine learning models.


  • Effective - Effective AI may run indefinitely and react swiftly to changes in the operational environment.


(Related: What is Explainable AI? )

Image depicts some of the qualities which a responsible AI should have. The AI should be Explainable, Monitorable, Secure, Reproducible, Unbiased, Human-Centred, and Justifiable.

Qualities of a Responsible AI


Designing a Responsible AI


It takes a lot of effort to create a responsible AI governance system. Continuous examination is necessary to guarantee that an organization is dedicated to producing unbiased and reliable AI. 


This is why, while creating and implementing an AI system, a company must have a maturity model or rubric to follow.


To be considered responsible, AI must be developed using resources and technology in accordance with a company-wide development guideline that requires the utilization of:


1. Code repositories that are shared


2. Model architectures that have been approved


3. Variables that have been sanctioned


4. Developed bias testing approaches to assist in determining the validity of AI system tests.


5. To ensure that AI programming functions as intended, stability guidelines for active machine learning models must be established.


( Also Read: Best Data Security Practices )



Implementation and Working:


It can be difficult to show whether an algorithmic model is functioning well in terms of accountability. 


Organizations now have a variety of options for implementing ethical AI and demonstrating that black box AI models have been eliminated. The following are some of the current strategies:


1. Ensure that data can be explained in a way that a human can understand.


2. Ensure that design and decision-making procedures are documented to the extent where, in the event of a mistake, the situation can be reverse-engineered to discover what went wrong.


3. Create a diverse work environment and encourage healthy debate to help minimize bias.


4. Use interpretable latent features to aid in the creation of data that is intelligible by humans.


5. Create a thorough development approach that prioritizes visibility into the hidden aspects of each app.

( Read this show on- Responsible AI: Challenges and Requirements )


Future of Responsible AI


Companies are currently supposed to self-regulate when it comes to AI. This implies they'll have to come up with their own Responsible AI rules and put them into action. Google, Microsoft, and IBM, for example, each have their own set of rules. 


One concern is that Responsible AI ideas may not be applied consistently across industries. Smaller businesses may lack the resources to develop their own.


This appears to be the path we are on. New regulations have just been introduced in Europe. They are based on the above-mentioned ethics rules and will affect a wide range of sectors. 


In the United States, there is currently no such regulation. Despite this, leaders from big giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple have all asked for stronger data and AI regulation. So it appears to be only a question of time.


(Also Read: Top Google AI projects )


Final Words


Artificial intelligence (AI) has enormous potential, but it also poses grave dangers. However, AI systems that are not thoughtfully and responsibly developed may be prejudiced, unsecure, and in violation of current laws, even going so far as to violate human rights. 


For organizations that haven't thought through their plans and roadmaps, AI poses a substantial financial and reputational damage risk. So, in the event of a crisis, we may utilize a Responsible AI to establish who is responsible for any negative outcomes of AI and even prevent them from occurring.