Aug 27, 2021

AI Sustainability Center – Making ethics a priority (and business opportunity) in today’s digital organizations

The topic of AI and ethics is exploding due to primarily different company and government crises around privacy, discrimination, lost autonomy and the proliferation of fake news. The transformative benefits that AI will bring are undisputed, but companies need to get ahead of the unintended negative impacts of AI before they occur. Meet Epicenter member AI Sustainability Center. With their unique approach to ethical AI they are on a mission to help organizations comply with EU regulations – and turn them into business opportunities.

The new EU proposal for regulating AI will encourage all organizations to be guided by a Code of Conduct. This affects your entire organization. None of this is new to AI Sustainability Center. They’ve been working with ethical AI since our start in 2018 and have built their business mission on three main pillars:  

1. a one-stop-shop for ethical AI,

2. a multidisciplinary research hub

3. a knowledge-sharing network dedicated to the sustainable and ethical use of AI and data-driven technologies.

The Center was founded with the mission to help organizations use AI responsibly by providing practical tools and frameworks for designing and developing AI innovation that humans can trust. 

”Our offerings help organizations to identify and mitigate ethical and social risks while facilitating the realization of vast gains from data-driven technologies. Our team brings expertise in ethical AI from a variety of backgrounds, including legal, social science, data science and AI, risk/compliance, Human Rights, and more” – says Anna Felländer, Founder AI Sustainability. 

AI brings exponential value and benefits for society, health care, public and private sector organizations, and humanity in general. But it also introduces exponential ethical and social risks such as privacy intrusion, discrimination, mis/disinformation, and lost autonomy.

“We are rooted in our Declaration of Ethical AI, which are human values in a data-driven world, including the right to privacy, fairness, equality and inclusion, autonomy, security, and information.”– says Anna Felländer, Founder AI Sustainability. 

In 2018, Anna Felländer founded the AI Sustainability Center after serving as an affiliated researcher at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Anna led a multidisciplinary study to categorize the negative externalities in the use of AI from a technical, legal, and ethical perspective. The findings from that multidisciplinary study built the foundation of the AI Sustainability Center’s approach and were the starting point in developing their framework which is the methodology they use to help their clients detect and mitigate potential risks so they can enable the full power of the AI innovations.

Today, the Center helps organizations proactively address unintended ethical pitfalls and the wider ethical and social implications of AI, while also continuing to conduct multidisciplinary research on AI ethics. They guide companies, tech start-ups, regulators and policymakers to create AI innovation that humans can trust. For example, they offer a screening of exposure to ethical risks, ethical risk assessment and AI ethical tools on the AI Sustainability Center’s Portal, which is hosted within the borders of the EU (Sweden) and operated and maintained by EU personnel.

AI Sustainability works with start-ups, multinational corporations, as well as public sector organizations who are using or want to use, AI and data-driven technologies responsibly. They work in a collaborative environment with a Nordic approach and provide practical tools and frameworks for organizations to sustainably and ethically develop AI innovation. They also help organizations prepare for the upcoming AI regulation led by the EU. Yet most importantly, AI Sustainability turn these risks into business opportunities.

 ‘’We ensure that companies’ AI applications do not cause harm to people and make them comply with their values and principles. By identifying ethical and societal risks and provide mitigations of those, our clients avoid contributing to privacy intrusion, discrimination, mis/disinformation, or lost autonomy. This allows them to develop cutting-edge data-driven technology with an ethical filter, preparing them for upcoming regulations while simultaneously strengthening their brand as trustworthy” – says Christer Forsberg Philip, CEO AI Sustainability. 

One example is AI Sustainability Center’s work on supporting an international telecommunications company with assessing privacy risks when using mobility data for product innovation and providing recommendations on how to address identified risks. Other clients are many of Sweden’s largest public agencies, supporting them in their mission to use AI for increased welfare. 

We support clients with establishing robust AI governance, evaluating the effectiveness of existing methods and tools that organizations could be leveraging e.g. AI Fairness tools, and much more. ‘’ – says Andrea Risberg, Program Manager AI Sustainability. 

Early on, AI Sustainability recognized the necessity and urgency in developing practical tools and frameworks for ethical and responsible use of AI. They believe in the exponential opportunities and benefits that AI offers, but recognize the many unintended pitfalls that can cause serious harm. High risk data driven technologies have scaled rapidly, but regulations have been lagging, which has meant that many organizations have not prioritized assessing how their use of AI impacts people and society. In April of this year, the EU Commission announced a robust proposal for regulating AI. 

The latest regulation update from the EU was a breakthrough for AI Sustainability Center because it validated the need for every organization, regardless of size, sector or industry, to adopt an ethical filter on their AI applications. Now is the time that all organizations need an ethical filter on their AI and data driven applications.  ’’ – says Christer Forsberg Philip, CEO AI Sustainability. . 

To summarize, AI Sustainability Center helps organizations to create a frictionless highway for innovations that humans can trust. For them, innovation occurs through close collaboration with a wide variety of experts across technical, legal, and academic spheres related to AI and ethics. They want to help any company that uses data-driven technology to support them in the long run by doing a screening on their exposure to ethical and societal risks. 

They chose the Epicenter Community for the professional support, networking across sectors and skills, and ability to easily connect with clients and partners. 

“We love the playful and open-minded atmosphere that Epicenter creates.” – says Christer Forsberg Philip, CEO AI Sustainability. 

Curious to learn more about AI Sustainability? Discover their Roadmap for Ethical AI at www.aisustainability.org or contact them at info@aisustainability.org. You can follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn for news and updates.

We also encourage you to take their free self–assessment and quickly gauge to what extent your organization may be exposed to AI or other data driven risks.

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