UNESCO opens Artificial Intelligence center in Ljubljana


UNESCO International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence will open and establish a new Artificial Intelligence center in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

It was announced this morning that the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia ratified the agreement between UNESCO and Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport of Republic of Slovenia establishing the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence under the auspices of UNESCO based in Ljubljana. Members of the National Assembly voted unanimously. For IRCAI: 81, Against 0

AI has the potential to accelerate the achievement of sustainable development goals, but also contribute towards new challenges that we must anticipate. Aggressive deployment of AI is raising many ethical questions across the globe as its configuration rapidly transforms various spheres of human agency.

The establishment of IRCAI was debated during UNESCO’s Executive Board at its 206th session and was subsequently approved during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference. This validated the proposal and authorized the Director-General to sign an agreement between UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia concerning the establishment and operation of the Centre.

The Centre will not only maximize the benefits of AI to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals but also expedite a multi-stakeholder mechanism to put AI under the litmus test of ethical, legal,  openness and policy challenges. The Centre will also add a unique focus and further expertise on UNESCO’s AI programs. In particular, it will leverage the power and capability of AI across various areas of competence of UNESCO by generating relevant statistics on AI, AI-related applications, and associated technological innovations.

The creation of the Centre also takes place against the backdrop of a recently-launched UNESCO publication “Steering AI and Advanced ICTs for Knowledge Societies”. This publication highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of AI from a human rights, openness, inclusive access and multistakeholder perspective. It advocates for steering clear of both technological utopianism, and dystopian thinking, while giving attention to the role of human agency and human-centred values in the development of AI.

The goal will be to develop artificial intelligence-based tools, products and services to help UNESCO Member States accelerate their efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Legal, ethical, economic and societal implications of these technologies will be addressed to make AI fair, transparent, and ethical. Researchers will be provided access to data, tools, services, platforms and indicators relevant to AI.