1 August 2020
UNESCO Virtual Regional Consultation on AI Ethics - Arab States Region

The Virtual Regional Consultation for the Arab States Region on the first draft of the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and hosted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), on August 10-11.

The Virtual Regional Consultation for the Arab States Region is part of a series of multi-stakeholder consultations that aim to discuss the first draft text of the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, prepared by the Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG). The Group is composed of 24 international experts appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO.

The event brought together 30 participants from different Arab countries, representing different sectors and industries, as well as government representatives and others from the private sector, the media, scientific research, arts, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The event provided an opportunity to share and exchange experience in addressing the ethical issues of AI in the Arab region.

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat delivered a speech in the opening session of the Virtual Regional Consultation, where he presented Egypt's efforts to leverage AI. Efforts included launching the National Strategy for AI to capitalize on this technology in building Digital Egypt; establishing the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) to carry out AI-related projects in different areas; creating the National AI Council to oversee the implementation of the National Strategy for AI in different sectors; and issuing the Personal Data Protection Law to govern the relation between data owners and users.

Talaat commended UNESCO efforts in coordinating between different stakeholders to agree on the ethics of AI, through involving all regions on an equal footing in these deliberations, and forming the Ad Hoc Expert Group.

He drew attention to the broad ethical impact of AI, including AI systems design and deployment issues, such as data bias and security risks; access to knowledge and education in AI issues, resulting from the unequal distribution of wealth and the unfair representation of low and middle income countries in AI forums; and socio-economic impact issues, such as maintaining values, morals, cultural heritage, language and identity.

It is worth noting that Egypt was elected member of the advisory working group tasked with discussing the drafting of an international technical document on the ethics of AI. The Advisor to the ICT Minister for AI Golestan Radwan was nominated member of AHEG, then elected its Vice-Chairperson.

Copyright Ministry of Communications and Information Technology 1999-2023. All rights reserved