Toronto urged to sign ethical use of AI declaration

Toronto urged to sign ethical use of AI declaration

Université de Montréal computer scientist and joint 2018 Turing Award winner, Yoshua Bengio, has called on the City of Toronto to sign a declaration for the ethical use of AI amidst concerns over data privacy, police surveillance and urban innovation organization, Sidewalk Labs’, waterfront smart neighbourhood, which uses sensors that collect data from air quality, noise, traffic, waste collection and the performance of the electric grid.

However, with the increasing ability to harvest huge amounts of data, and the increasing power of artificial intelligence to derive insights and predictions from that data, smart cities have a responsibility to curate how that data is collected, handled and stored.

Speaking to Kate Allen at The Star, Benigo said that city services like public transportation, waste collection and snow removal can all be optimized, but there are caveats: “This would be great. The concern is that measuring all that data has to be done in a way that is consistent with issues of privacy, control and democracy. That’s why we want to put in these principles, and make sure that civil servants understand them and don’t deploy things that go against these principles.”

Last year, Bengio was one of the organisers of the Montréal Declaration, an ethical framework for the development and deployment of AI and is urging the City of Toronto to sign too.

Identifying a set of values and priorities to shape AI development, such as protecting privacy, democracy and maintaining cultural and social diversity, the City of Montreal – among 41 organizational signatories and 1,178 individuals – was one of the first to sign the declaration.

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, has asked city staff to review the declaration and report back on the implications of signing it.