Ugra may become a venue for dealing with ethical aspects of artificial intelligence implementation


Natalia Komarova, Governor of Ugra, held a working meeting with Dorothy Gordon, Chair of Inter-Governmental Council of Information for All UNESCO Program, Leader of Working Group on Informational Literacy, and Evgeny Kuzmin, Deputy Chair, Inter-Governmental Council of Information for All UNESCO Program

The meeting was also attended by Jaco Du Toit, Program Specialist, Information Accessibility and Preservation Provision Unit, Knowledge Societies Department, Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO; Prabhakar Rao Jandhyala, Director, E-Learning Center, University of Hyderabad, India; Rachel Fisher, Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa; Gilvan Müller de Oliveira, Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, Head of Strategy and Policy of Linguistic Diversity Preservation and Development Chair, UNESCO.

The meeting was held on the margins of the Eleventh International IT Forum Attended by BRICS and SCO Countries.

First of all, Dorothy Gordon noted the success of the Forum, emphasizing the correctly selected topic for discussion – aspects of artificial intelligence application. “Today, contemporaneity challenges not only individual persons but also whole countries. In this regard, the issue of quality education for our children is always relevant, since we need to give them life skills for this digital world. And we were able to discuss these issues here, in Khanty-Mansiysk,” she stated.

Dorothy Gordon expressed her concern of the fact that in a digital era, these problems are still being considered only from the technology perspective, while humanitarian aspects of the issue, including sociological, psychological and philosophical subtleties, are omitted.

However, she believes, it is even more important that people currently receiving conventional education have an opportunity of also gaining knowledge on social aspects of applying advanced information technologies.

“At the same time, it is still being extensively discussed what kind of artificial intelligence is needed by the global community, state governance bodies and governments today,” Dorothy Gordon noted. “As we train and educate civil servants, we need to prepare them for working with information technologies and artificial intelligence, give them corresponding skills. So that when public officials possessing such knowledge are addressed by business community representatives with their projects, the former will be able to understand what the latter are talking about without much ado and make the right choice.”

Our guest particularly appreciated the Governor’s efforts on doing extremely significant work in Ugra – preserving and assuring linguistic diversity in the informational environment. She suggested, however, that in the future the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence implementation should be reviewed along with Okrug Government’s capabilities of working on this issue and submitting suggestions for consideration at UNESCO level. “This is a very interesting task, since as of now, no one yet realizes what to do with that,” Dorothy Gordon explained.

She was supported by Rachel Fisher who declared that such practices could be rolled out across a great number of developing countries. So far, only South Africa has a center dealing with ethical issues of artificial intelligence implementation but, according to her, the plan is to open similar institutions in India, Brazil, China and of course Russia.

Gilvan Müller de Oliveira reported that Strategy and Policy of Linguistic Diversity Preservation and Development Chair at UNESCO was currently comprised of 22 universities from 13 countries, including BRICS. In this regard, he suggested that in the future, both higher education institutions and research & development institutions from the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, specifically Ob Ugric Institute of Applied Research and Developments along with other educational organizations, join this Chair.

“I thank UNESCO and all its institutions for trusting our region and developing such important recommendations. It is a very valuable opportunity for us,” Natalia Komarova commented.

After the talk, UNESCO delegates invited the Governor to participate in Inter-Governmental Meeting of Information for All program members that will take place at the international organization’s Headquarters in Paris in 2020. They offered our Head of Region to present Ugra’s cutting-edge experience in developing and implementing contemporary information technologies and artificial intelligence. “I think it will give event participants an impetus to start more active work on developing new projects,” Dorothy Gordon summarized.

General partners of IT Forum are Rostelecom, Lukoil, PRIME GROUP and Slavneft-Megionneftegaz.