IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) today announced the launch of the Ethics Certification Program for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (ECPAIS). ECPAIS establishes one of the world’s first programs dedicated to the creation of an A/IS certification process and marking methodology supported by a global standards development organization.

ECPAIS intends to offer a process and define a series of marks by which organizations can seek certified A/IS products, systems and services. The program is highlighting the importance of public-private collaboration in advancing responsible use of A/IS, and launching with founding member organizations including Saidot.ai, Accenture, Combient, H5, Vega Systems, VERSES, City of Vienna, Finland’s Ministry of Finance and City of Espoo. Participation is open to all interested entities. The program will deal initially with matters of transparency, accountability and reduction of algorithmic bias.

“It becomes more and more evident that consumers and citizens of the world are expecting technology to conform with ethical principles beyond functionality,” said Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director of IEEE-SA. “IEEE is one of the first global organizations to recognize the importance of certified accountability, transparency and reduction of algorithmic bias as being a critical enabler for A/IS value realization. This is also why the formation of ECPAIS complements the series of our IEEE P7000™ standard projects, along with all our A/IS Ethics work.”

The themes of accountability, transparency and reduction of algorithmic bias in A/IS will also form the central discussion themes of the upcoming European ministerial conference, AI Forum 2018 in Helsinki, where IEEE will participate in the roundtable discussion entitled “Algorithmic Transparency – How to Achieve It.”

“Today’s technology ecosystem calls for solutions that secure fair and transparent A/IS development, and Finland is at the forefront of key global efforts to move ethical A/IS from principles to pragmatism through close public-private partnership,” noted Meeri Haataja, chair of Ethics Working Group in Finland’s AI Program, and chair of ECPAIS. “Moving forward, A/IS need certifiable processes supported by a trusted organization that establishes easily identifiable marks, in order to signal high levels of reliability and safety to the general public. As chair of this groundbreaking IEEE program, I am honored to more broadly share and further incentivize Finland’s, and Europe’s, forward-thinking push to secure certifiably ethical A/IS.”

The ECPAIS Program Executive Committee will hold its first meeting in fall 2018 and plans to launch initial development of criteria and defined processes in 2019.