The State of AI Ethics Report (June 2020)

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It has never been more important that we keep a sharp eye out on the development of this field and how it is shaping our society and interactions with each other. With this inaugural edition of the State of AI Ethics we hope to bring forward the most important developments that caught our attention at the Montreal AI Ethics Institute this past quarter. Our goal is to help you navigate this ever-evolving field swiftly and allow you and your organization to make informed decisions.

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“This pulse-check for the state of discourse, research, and development is geared towards researchers and practitioners alike who are making decisions on behalf of their organizations in considering the societal impacts of AI-enabled solutions” […] Regarding AI en Medicine, for example: “The ongoing pandemic has certainly accelerated the adoption of technology in everything from how we socialize to buying groceries and doing work remotely. The healthcare industry has also been rapid in adapting to meet the needs of people and technology has played a role in helping to scale care to more people and accelerate the pace with which the care is provided. But, this comes with the challenge of making decisions under duress and with shortened timelines within which to make decisions on whether to adopt a piece of technology or not. This has certainly led to issues where there are risks of adopting solutions that haven’t been fully vetted and using solutions that have been repurposed from prior uses that were approved to now combat COVID-19. Especially with AI-enabled tools, there are increased risks of emergent behavior that might not have been captured by the previous certification or regulatory checks. The problems with AI solutions don’t just go away because there is a pandemic and shortcutting the process of proper due diligence can lead to more harm than the benefits that they bring. One must also be wary of the companies that are trying to capitalize on the chaos and pass through solutions that don’t really work well. Having technical staff during the procurement process that can look over the details of what is being brought into your healthcare system needs to be a priority. AI can certainly help to mitigate some of the harms that COVID-19 is inflicting on patients but we must keep in mind that we’re not looking to bypass privacy concerns that come with processing vast quantities of healthcare data”.


MAIEI. “The Montreal AI Ethics Institute is an international, non-profit research institute dedicated to defining humanity’s place in a world increasingly characterized and driven by algorithms. We do this by creating tangible and applied technical and policy research in the ethical, safe, and inclusive development of AI. The goal is to build public competence and understanding of the societal impacts of AI and to equip and empower diverse stakeholders to actively engage in the shaping of technical and policy measures in the development and deployment of AI systems. It is a digital-first civil society organization that brings together a diversity of individuals from different disciplines, areas of expertise, and geographic regions”. (Source:

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