The principle of responsibility must be fundamental to AI research and application. ‘Autonomous’ systems should only be developed and used in ways that serve the global social and environmental good, as determined by outcomes of deliberative democratic processes. This implies that they should be designed so that their effects align with a plurality of fundamental human values and rights. As the potential misuse of ‘autonomous’ technologies poses a major challenge, risk awareness and a precautionary approach are crucial. Applications of AI and robotics should not pose unacceptable risks of harm to human beings, and not compromise human freedom and autonomy by illegitimately and surreptitiously reducing options for and knowledge of citizens. They should be geared instead in their development and use towards augmenting access to knowledge and access to opportunities for individuals. Research, design and development of AI, robotics and ‘autonomous’ systems should be guided by an authentic concern for research ethics, social accountability of developers, and global academic cooperation to protect fundamental rights and values and aim at designing technologies that support these, and not detract from them.
Published by European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, European Commission in Ethical principles and democratic prerequisites, Mar 9, 2018