Apr 25, 2022
This research analysed evidence on the use of labelling schemes, codes of conduct and other self-regulatory mechanisms for the ethical and safe development of AI applications. Through a literature review, crowdsourcing and interviews, we highlight a set of common themes, notable divergences, and examine anticipated opportunities and challenges associated with developing and implementing these tools. We also outline key learnings for the future.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is recognised as a strategically important technology that can contribute to a wide array of societal and economic benefits. However, it is also a technology that may present serious challenges and have unintended consequences. Within this context, trust in AI is recognised as a key prerequisite for the broader uptake of this technology in society. It is therefore vital that AI products, services and systems are developed and implemented responsibly, safely and ethically.
Through a literature review, a crowdsourcing exercise and interviews with experts, we aimed to examine evidence on the use of labelling initiatives and schemes, codes of conduct and other voluntary, self-regulatory mechanisms for the ethical and safe development of AI applications. We draw out a set of common themes, highlight notable divergences between these mechanisms, and outline anticipated opportunities and challenges associated with developing and implementing them. We also offer a series of topics for further consideration to best balance these opportunities and challenges. These topics present a set of key learnings that stakeholders can take forward to understand the potential implications for future action when designing and implementing voluntary, self-regulatory mechanisms. The analysis is intended to stimulate further discussion and debate across stakeholders as applications of AI continue to multiply across the globe and particularly considering the European Commission's recently published draft proposal for AI regulation.
We identified and analysed a range of self-regulatory mechanisms — such as labelling initiatives, certification schemes, seals, trust/quality marks and codes of conduct — across diverse geographical contexts, sectors and AI applications.
The initiatives span different stages of development, from early stage (and still conceptual) proposed mechanisms to operational examples, but many have yet to gain widespread acceptance and use.
Many of the initiatives assess AI applications against ethical and legal criteria that emphasise safety, human rights and societal values, and are often based on principles that are informed by existing high-level ethical frameworks.
We found a series of opportunities and challenges associated with the design, development and implementation of these voluntary, self-regulatory tools for AI applications.
We outlined a set of key considerations that stakeholders can take forward to understand the potential implications for future action when designing, implementing and incentivising the take-up of voluntary, self-regulatory mechanisms, and to help contribute to the creation of a flexible and agile regulatory environment.
Introduction and overview
The role of labelling initiatives, codes of conduct and other self-regulatory mechanisms in AI development and use
Concluding remarks and reflections on the future
Longlist of initiatives
Detailed descriptions of some of the initiatives