Professor Salma Abbasi was invited by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to deliver a presentation at the First Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea in November 2022. The conference brought together high-level officials from ESCAP member states to strengthen cooperation in accelerating digital transformation and bridging the digital divide.
Prof. Abbasi shared her expertise on the urgent need to develop ethical artificial intelligence (AI) in digital transformation. AI is ever-present in our lives and is developing at breakneck speed. We can see AI in Google’s search algorithms and SIRI, as well as in the recent creative and generative AI technologies like ChatGPT and DALL-E. AI is transforming the world in good ways – enhancing productivity and promoting innovation – and bad ways – like using deepfakes to manipulate people and disrupt society and using driverless vehicles as weapons. Ethics in AI is about continually asking and investigating the technologies rapidly introduced, and working collaboratively to develop standards, rules and guidelines to ensure that AI is used responsibly, fairly and safely.
Prof. Abbasi’s presentation stressed the importance of understanding the rapid evolution of AI technologies and the critical need for inclusivity and meaningful transformation. Civil servants and technocrats at all levels of government and industry must have the digital skills and competencies to fully leverage the benefits of AI, meaningfully adopt and adapt the technologies to the country’s cultural and social contexts, and at the same time, mitigate the risks and threats. Prof. Abbasi emphasized the need for government policies, frameworks and regulations to be in harmony with local readiness, infrastructure and human capital. She also pointed out the importance of recognizing transformations in the future of work, and the urgent need to prepare the current and future workforce for unprecedented changes, disruptions and ethical dilemmas.
The eWorldwide Group is working closely with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and other international organizations in ensuring ethical AI.
Prof. Abbasi with the remarkable women driving the ESCAP agenda – Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and Former Minister for National Development Planning of Indonesia (right), and Ms. Tiziana Bonapace, Director of ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division at ESCAP (middle).
Prof. Abbasi with the Honorable Minister, Mr. Poasi Mataele Tei, Ministry of Meteorology; Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) for Tonga.
Prof. Abbasi presenting at the First Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea
Prof. Abbasi with Mr. Tae Hyung KIM, Chief of Section, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific