THE DECLARATION

READING THE DECLARATION
A DECLARATION FOR WHAT PURPOSE?

The Montreal Declaration for responsible AI development has three main objectives:

1. Develop an ethical framework for the development and deployment of AI;

2. Guide the digital transition so everyone benefits from this technological revolution;


3. Open a national and international forum for discussion to collectively achieve equitable, inclusive, and ecologically sustainable AI development.

A DECLARATION OF WHAT?
PRINCIPLES

The Declaration’s first objective consists of identifying the ethical principles and values that promote the fundamental interests of people and groups. These principles applied to the digital and artificial intelligence field remain general and
abstract. To read them correctly, it is important to keep the following points in mind:

  • Although they are presented as a list, there is no hierarchy. The last principle is not less important
    than the first. However, it is possible, depending on the circumstances, to lend more weight to
    one principle than another, or to consider one principle more relevant than another.

  • Although they are diverse, they must be interpreted consistently to prevent any conflict that could prevent them from being applied. As a general rule, the limits of one principle’s application are defined by another principle’s field of application.

  • Although they reflect the moral and political culture of the society in which they were developed, they provide the basis for an intercultural and international dialogue.

  • Although they can be interpreted in different ways, they cannot be interpreted in just any way. It is imperative that the interpretation be coherent.

  • Although these are ethical principles, they can be translated into political language and interpreted in legal fashion.

 

Recommendations were made based on these principles to establish guidelines for the digital transition within the Declaration’s ethical framework. It aims at covering a few key cross-sectorial themes to reflect on the transition towards a society in which AI helps promote the common good: algorithmic governance, digital literacy, digital inclusion of diversity and ecological sustainability.

A DECLARATION FOR WHOM?

The Montreal Declaration is addressed to any person, organization and company that wishes to take part in the responsible development of artificial intelligence, whether it’s to contribute scientifically or technologically, to develop social projects, to elaborate rules (regulations, codes) that apply to it, to be able to contest bad or unwise approaches, or to be able to alert public opinion when necessary. 


It is also addressed to political representatives, whether elected or named, whose citizens expect them to take stock of developing social changes, quickly establish a framework allowing a digital transition that serves the greater good, and anticipate the serious risks presented by AI development.

A DECLARATION ACCORDING TO WHAT METHOD?

The Declaration was born from an inclusive deliberation process that initiates a dialogue between citizens, experts, public officials, industry stakeholders, civil organizations and professional associations. The advantages of this approach are threefold:


1. Collectively mediate AI’s social and ethical controversies;
2. Improve the quality of reflection on responsible AI;
3. Strengthen the legitimacy of the proposals for responsible AI.

The elaboration of principles and recommendations is a co-construction work that involved a variety of participants in public spaces, in the boardrooms of professional organizations, around international expert round tables, in research offices, classrooms or online, always with the same rigor.

AFTER THE DECLARATION?

Because the Declaration concerns a technology which has been steadily progressing since the 1950s, and whose pace of major innovations increases in exponential fashion, it is essential to perceive the Declaration as an open guidance document, to be revised and adapted according to the evolution of knowledge and techniques, as well as user feedback on AI use in society. At the end of the Declaration’s elaboration process, we have reached the starting point for an open and inclusive conversation surrounding the future of humanity being served by artificial intelligence technologies.

 

I wish to sign the Montreal Declaration

for a responsible development of artificial intelligence

 
PREAMBLE

For the first time in human history, it is possible to create autonomous systems capable of performing complex tasks of which natural intelligence alone was thought capable: processing large quantities of information, calculating and predicting, learning and adapting responses to changing situations, and recognizing and classifying objects. Given the immaterial nature of these tasks, and by analogy with human intelligence, we designate these wide-ranging systems under the general name of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence constitutes a major form of scientific and technological progress, which can generate considerable social benefits by improving living conditions and health, facilitating justice, creating wealth, bolstering public safety, and mitigating the impact of human activities on the environment and the climate. Intelligent machines are not limited to performing better calculations than human beings; they can also interact with sentient beings, keep them company and take care of them.

However, the development of artificial intelligence does pose major ethical challenges and social risks. Indeed, intelligent machines can restrict the choices of individuals and groups, lower living standards, disrupt the organization of labor and the job market, influence politics, clash with fundamental rights, exacerbate social and economic inequalities, and affect ecosystems, the climate and the environment. Although scientific progress, and living in a society, always carry a risk, it is up to the citizens to determine the moral and political ends that give meaning to the risks encountered in an uncertain world.

The lower the risks of its deployment, the greater the benefits of artificial intelligence will be. The first danger of artificial intelligence development consists in giving the illusion that we can master the future through calculations. Reducing society to a series of numbers and ruling it through algorithmic procedures is an old pipe dream that still drives human ambitions. But when it comes to human affairs, tomorrow rarely resembles today, and numbers cannot determine what has moral value, nor what is socially desirable.  

The principles of the current declaration are like points on a moral compass that will help guide the development of artificial intelligence toward morally and socially desirable ends. They also offer an ethical framework that promotes internationally recognized human rights in the fields affected by the rollout of artificial intelligence. Taken as a whole, the principles articulated lay the foundation for cultivating social trust toward artificially intelligent systems.

The principles of the current declaration rest on the common belief that human beings seek to grow as social beings endowed with sensations, thoughts and feelings, and strive to fulfill their potential by freely exercising their emotional, moral and intellectual capacities. It is incumbent on the various public and private stakeholders and policymakers at the local, national and international level to ensure that the development and deployment of artificial intelligence are compatible with the protection of fundamental human capacities and goals, and contribute toward their fuller realization. With this goal in mind, one must interpret the proposed principles in a coherent manner, while taking into account the specific social, cultural, political and legal contexts of their application.

 
1- WELL-BEING PRINCIPLE

The development and use of AIS must be compatible with maintaining social and cultural diversity and must not restrict the scope of lifestyle choices or personal experiences.


1) AIS development and use must not lead to the homogenization of society through the standardization of behavior and opinions. 2) From the moment algorithms are conceived, AIS development and deployment must take into consideration the multitude of expressions of social and cultural diversity present in the society. 3) AI development environments, whether in research or industry, must be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals and groups of the society. 4) AIS must avoid using acquired data to lock individuals into a user profile, fix their personal identity, or confine them to a filtering bubble, which would restrict and confine their possibilities for personal development — especially in fields such as education, justice, or business. 5) AIS must not be developed or used with the aim of limiting the free expression of ideas or the opportunity to hear diverse opinions, both being essential conditions of a democratic society. 6) For each service category, the AIS offering must be diversified to prevent de facto monopolies from forming and undermining individual freedoms.





 
2- RESPECT FOR AUTONOMY PRINCIPLE

Privacy and intimacy must be protected from AIS intrusion and data acquisition and archiving systems (DAAS).


1) Personal spaces in which people are not subjected to surveillance or digital evaluation must be protected from the intrusion of AIS and data acquisition and archiving systems (DAAS). 2) The intimacy of thoughts and emotions must be strictly protected from AIS and DAAS uses capable of causing harm, especially uses that impose moral judgments on people or their lifestyle choices. 3) People must always have the right to digital disconnection in their private lives, and AIS should explicitly offer the option to disconnect at regular intervals, without encouraging people to stay connected. 4) People must have extensive control over information regarding their preferences. AIS must not create individual preference profiles to influence the behavior of the individuals without their free and informed consent. 5) DAAS must guarantee data confidentiality and personal profile anonymity. 6) Every person must be able to exercise extensive control over their personal data, especially when it comes to its collection, use, and dissemination. Access to AIS and digital services by individuals must not be made conditional on their abandoning control or ownership of their personal data. 7) Individuals should be free to donate their personal data to research organizations in order to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. 8) The integrity of one’s personal identity must be guaranteed. AIS must not be used to imitate or alter a person’s appearance, voice, or other individual characteristics in order to damage one’s reputation or manipulate other people.





 
3- PROTECTION OF PRIVACY AND INTIMACY PRINCIPLE

Privacy and intimacy must be protected from AIS intrusion and data acquisition and archiving systems (DAAS).


1) Personal spaces in which people are not subjected to surveillance or digital evaluation must be protected from the intrusion of AIS and data acquisition and archiving systems (DAAS). 2) The intimacy of thoughts and emotions must be strictly protected from AIS and DAAS uses capable of causing harm, especially uses that impose moral judgments on people or their lifestyle choices. 3) People must always have the right to digital disconnection in their private lives, and AIS should explicitly offer the option to disconnect at regular intervals, without encouraging people to stay connected. 4) People must have extensive control over information regarding their preferences. AIS must not create individual preference profiles to influence the behavior of the individuals without their free and informed consent. 5) DAAS must guarantee data confidentiality and personal profile anonymity. 6) Every person must be able to exercise extensive control over their personal data, especially when it comes to its collection, use, and dissemination. Access to AIS and digital services by individuals must not be made conditional on their abandoning control or ownership of their personal data. 7) Individuals should be free to donate their personal data to research organizations in order to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. 8) The integrity of one’s personal identity must be guaranteed. AIS must not be used to imitate or alter a person’s appearance, voice, or other individual characteristics in order to damage one’s reputation or manipulate other people.





4- SOLIDARITY PRINCIPLE
 

The development and use of AIS must be compatible with maintaining social and cultural diversity and must not restrict the scope of lifestyle choices or personal experiences.


1) AIS development and use must not lead to the homogenization of society through the standardization of behavior and opinions. 2) From the moment algorithms are conceived, AIS development and deployment must take into consideration the multitude of expressions of social and cultural diversity present in the society. 3) AI development environments, whether in research or industry, must be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals and groups of the society. 4) AIS must avoid using acquired data to lock individuals into a user profile, fix their personal identity, or confine them to a filtering bubble, which would restrict and confine their possibilities for personal development — especially in fields such as education, justice, or business. 5) AIS must not be developed or used with the aim of limiting the free expression of ideas or the opportunity to hear diverse opinions, both being essential conditions of a democratic society. 6) For each service category, the AIS offering must be diversified to prevent de facto monopolies from forming and undermining individual freedoms.





 
5- DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION PRINCIPLE

AIS must meet intelligibility, justifiability, and accessibility criteria, and must be subjected to democratic scrutiny, debate, and control.


1) AIS processes that make decisions affecting a person’s life, quality of life, or reputation must be intelligible to their creators. 2) The decisions made by AIS affecting a person’s life, quality of life, or reputation should always be justifiable in a language that is understood by the people who use them or who are subjected to the consequences of their use. Justification consists in making transparent the most important factors and parameters shaping the decision, and should take the same form as the justification we would demand of a human making the same kind of decision. 3) The code for algorithms, whether public or private, must always be accessible to the relevant public authorities and stakeholders for verification and control purposes. 4) The discovery of AIS operating errors, unexpected or undesirable effects, security breaches, and data leaks must imperatively be reported to the relevant public authorities, stakeholders, and those affected by the situation. 5) In accordance with the transparency requirement for public decisions, the code for decision-making algorithms used by public authorities must be accessible to all, with the exception of algorithms that present a high risk of serious danger if misused. 6) For public AIS that has a significant impact on the life of citizens, citizens should have the opportunity and skills to deliberate on the social parameters of these AIS, their objectives, and the limits of their use. 7) We must at all times be able to verify that AIS are doing what they were programed for and what they are used for. 8) Any person using a service should know if a decision concerning them or affecting them was made by an AIS. 9) Any user of a service employing chatbots should be able to easily identify whether they are interacting with an AIS or a real person. 10) Artificial intelligence research should remain open and accessible to all.





6- EQUITY PRINCIPLE
 

The development and use of AIS must be compatible with maintaining social and cultural diversity and must not restrict the scope of lifestyle choices or personal experiences.


1) AIS development and use must not lead to the homogenization of society through the standardization of behavior and opinions. 2) From the moment algorithms are conceived, AIS development and deployment must take into consideration the multitude of expressions of social and cultural diversity present in the society. 3) AI development environments, whether in research or industry, must be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals and groups of the society. 4) AIS must avoid using acquired data to lock individuals into a user profile, fix their personal identity, or confine them to a filtering bubble, which would restrict and confine their possibilities for personal development — especially in fields such as education, justice, or business. 5) AIS must not be developed or used with the aim of limiting the free expression of ideas or the opportunity to hear diverse opinions, both being essential conditions of a democratic society. 6) For each service category, the AIS offering must be diversified to prevent de facto monopolies from forming and undermining individual freedoms.





7- DIVERSITY INCLUSION PRINCIPLE
 

The development and use of AIS must be compatible with maintaining social and cultural diversity and must not restrict the scope of lifestyle choices or personal experiences.


1) AIS development and use must not lead to the homogenization of society through the standardization of behavior and opinions. 2) From the moment algorithms are conceived, AIS development and deployment must take into consideration the multitude of expressions of social and cultural diversity present in the society. 3) AI development environments, whether in research or industry, must be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals and groups of the society. 4) AIS must avoid using acquired data to lock individuals into a user profile, fix their personal identity, or confine them to a filtering bubble, which would restrict and confine their possibilities for personal development — especially in fields such as education, justice, or business. 5) AIS must not be developed or used with the aim of limiting the free expression of ideas or the opportunity to hear diverse opinions, both being essential conditions of a democratic society. 6) For each service category, the AIS offering must be diversified to prevent de facto monopolies from forming and undermining individual freedoms.





8- PRUDENCE PRINCIPLE
 

The development and use of AIS must be carried out so as to ensure a strong environmental sustainability of the planet.


1) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies such as data centers, must aim for the greatest energy efficiency and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions over its entire life cycle. 2) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies, must aim to generate the least amount of electric and electronic waste and to provide for maintenance, repair, and recycling procedures according to the principles of circular economy. 3) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies, must minimize our impact on ecosystems and biodiversity at every stage of its life cycle, notably with respect to the extraction of resources and the ultimate disposal of the equipment when it has reached the end of its useful life. 4) Public and private actors must support the environmentally responsible development of AIS in order to combat the waste of natural resources and produced goods, build sustainable supply chains and trade, and reduce global pollution.





9- RESPONSIBILITY PRINCIPLE
 

The writing of the Montreal Declaration for the responsible development of artificial intelligence is the result of the work of a multidisciplinary and inter-university scientific team that draws on a citizen consultation process and a dialogue with experts and stakeholders of AI development.


CHRISTOPHE ABRASSART, Associate Professor in the School of Design and Co-director of LabVille Prospective of the Faculty of Planning of the Université de Montréal, member of Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ)
YOSHUA BENGIO, Full Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, UdeM, Scientific Director of MILA and IVADO
GUILLAUME CHICOISNE, Scientific Programs Director, IVADO NATHALIE DE MARCELLIS-WARIN, Full Professor, Polytechnique Montréal, President and Chief Executive officer, Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO)
MARC-ANTOINE DILHAC, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal, Chair of the Ethics and Politics Group, Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ), Canada Research Chair in Public Ethics and Political Theory, Director of the Institut Philosophie Citoyenneté Jeunesse
SÉBASTIEN GAMBS, Professor of Computer Science of Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada Research Chair in Privacy-Preserving and Ethical Analysis of Big Data VINCENT GAUTRAIS, Full Professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal; Director of the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP); Chair of the L.R. Wilson Chair in Information Technology and E-Commerce Law MARTIN GIBERT, Ethics Counsellor at IVADO and researcher in Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) LYSE LANGLOIS, Full Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Social Science; Director of the Institut d’éthique appliquée (IDÉA); Researcher Interuniversity Research Center on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) FRANÇOIS LAVIOLETTE, Full Professor, of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Université Laval; Director of the Centre de recherche en données massives (CRDM) PASCALE LEHOUX, Full Professor at the École de santé publique, Université de Montéal (ESPUM); Chair on Responsible Innovation in Health JOCELYN MACLURE, Full Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Université Laval, and President of the Quebec Ethics in Science and Technology Commission (CEST) MARIE MARTEL, Professor in École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information, Université de Montréal JOËLLE PINEAU, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science, McGill University; Director of Facebook AI Lab in Montréal; Co-directorof the Reasoning and Learning Lab PETER RAILTON, Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor; John Stephenson Perrin Professor; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences CATHERINE RÉGIS, Associate professor, Facultyof Law, Université de Montréal; Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy; Regular researcher, Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) CHRISTINE TAPPOLET, Full Professor, Department of Philosophy, UdeM, Director of Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) NATHALIE VOARINO, PhD Candidate in Bioethicsof Université de Montréal





 
10- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLE

The development and use of AIS must be carried out so as to ensure a strong environmental sustainability of the planet.


1) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies such as data centers, must aim for the greatest energy efficiency and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions over its entire life cycle. 2) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies, must aim to generate the least amount of electric and electronic waste and to provide for maintenance, repair, and recycling procedures according to the principles of circular economy. 3) AIS hardware, its digital infrastructure and the relevant objects on which it relies, must minimize our impact on ecosystems and biodiversity at every stage of its life cycle, notably with respect to the extraction of resources and the ultimate disposal of the equipment when it has reached the end of its useful life. 4) Public and private actors must support the environmentally responsible development of AIS in order to combat the waste of natural resources and produced goods, build sustainable supply chains and trade, and reduce global pollution.





GLOSSARY
 

The development and use of AIS must be compatible with maintaining social and cultural diversity and must not restrict the scope of lifestyle choices or personal experiences.


1) AIS development and use must not lead to the homogenization of society through the standardization of behavior and opinions. 2) From the moment algorithms are conceived, AIS development and deployment must take into consideration the multitude of expressions of social and cultural diversity present in the society. 3) AI development environments, whether in research or industry, must be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals and groups of the society. 4) AIS must avoid using acquired data to lock individuals into a user profile, fix their personal identity, or confine them to a filtering bubble, which would restrict and confine their possibilities for personal development — especially in fields such as education, justice, or business. 5) AIS must not be developed or used with the aim of limiting the free expression of ideas or the opportunity to hear diverse opinions, both being essential conditions of a democratic society. 6) For each service category, the AIS offering must be diversified to prevent de facto monopolies from forming and undermining individual freedoms.





 
CREDITS

The writing of the Montreal Declaration for the responsible development of artificial intelligence is the result of the work of a multidisciplinary and inter-university scientific team that draws on a citizen consultation process and a dialogue with experts and stakeholders of AI development.


CHRISTOPHE ABRASSART, Associate Professor in the School of Design and Co-director of LabVille Prospective of the Faculty of Planning of the Université de Montréal, member of Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ)
YOSHUA BENGIO, Full Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, UdeM, Scientific Director of MILA and IVADO
GUILLAUME CHICOISNE, Scientific Programs Director, IVADO NATHALIE DE MARCELLIS-WARIN, Full Professor, Polytechnique Montréal, President and Chief Executive officer, Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO)
MARC-ANTOINE DILHAC, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Université de Montréal, Chair of the Ethics and Politics Group, Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ), Canada Research Chair in Public Ethics and Political Theory, Director of the Institut Philosophie Citoyenneté Jeunesse
SÉBASTIEN GAMBS, Professor of Computer Science of Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada Research Chair in Privacy-Preserving and Ethical Analysis of Big Data VINCENT GAUTRAIS, Full Professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal; Director of the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP); Chair of the L.R. Wilson Chair in Information Technology and E-Commerce Law MARTIN GIBERT, Ethics Counsellor at IVADO and researcher in Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) LYSE LANGLOIS, Full Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Social Science; Director of the Institut d’éthique appliquée (IDÉA); Researcher Interuniversity Research Center on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) FRANÇOIS LAVIOLETTE, Full Professor, of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Université Laval; Director of the Centre de recherche en données massives (CRDM) PASCALE LEHOUX, Full Professor at the École de santé publique, Université de Montéal (ESPUM); Chair on Responsible Innovation in Health JOCELYN MACLURE, Full Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Université Laval, and President of the Quebec Ethics in Science and Technology Commission (CEST) MARIE MARTEL, Professor in École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information, Université de Montréal JOËLLE PINEAU, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science, McGill University; Director of Facebook AI Lab in Montréal; Co-directorof the Reasoning and Learning Lab PETER RAILTON, Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor; John Stephenson Perrin Professor; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences CATHERINE RÉGIS, Associate professor, Facultyof Law, Université de Montréal; Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Culture in Health Law and Policy; Regular researcher, Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) CHRISTINE TAPPOLET, Full Professor, Department of Philosophy, UdeM, Director of Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) NATHALIE VOARINO, PhD Candidate in Bioethicsof Université de Montréal





© 2017 Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of AI

Université de Montréal

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