IEEE Sets Autonomous and Intelligent Systems Standards
November 20, 2017
IEEE has approved three new standards projects inspired by work being done by The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. The new standards projects are the latest additions to the IEEE P7000™ standards family, which supports a principal goal of the IEEE to prioritize ethical concerns and human wellbeing in the development of standards that address all aspects of autonomous and intelligent technologies. These objectives are further addressed in the IEEE publication Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Wellbeing with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems, a living document that encourages technologists to prioritize ethical considerations in the creation and proliferation of these technologies.
The new IEEE P7000 standards projects are chaired by leading subject matter experts in their respective fields of study and include:
Nudges, as exhibited by robotic, intelligent or autonomous systems, are defined as overt or hidden suggestions designed to influence human behavior or emotions. Sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, IEEE P7008 delineates the concepts, functions and benefits necessary to establish and ensure ethically driven methodologies for the design of robotic, intelligent and autonomous systems in accordance with worldwide ethics and moral theories, with an emphasis on aligning the ethics and engineering communities to understand how to pragmatically design and implement these systems.
“Robotics and autonomy are expected to introduce big innovations for society. Recently, there has been growing public attention focused on possible social problems that might occur, as well as on the huge potential benefits that can be realized,” said Satoshi Tadokoro, President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. “Some incorrect information from fiction and imagination may unfortunately be observed in those discussions. As the world's largest technical professional organization, IEEE will introduce knowledge and wisdom based on the accepted facts of science and technology to help reach public decisions that maximize the overall benefits for humanity.”
Malfunctioning autonomous and semi-autonomous systems can disadvantage and harm users, society, and the environment. Effective fail-safe mechanisms can help mitigate risks related to system malfunction and provide developers, installers and operators with clear technical criteria to terminate unsuccessful or compromised operations in a safe and consistent manner. Sponsored by the IEEE Reliability Society, IEEE P7009 establishes clear procedures for measuring, testing, and certifying a system's ability to fail safely on a scale from weak to strong, with instructions for improving system performance. The standard provides a basis for developers, as well as users and regulators, to design robust and transparent fail-safe mechanisms for increased accountability.
Today, with the advancement of autonomous and intelligent systems, programmers, engineers, and technologists need to consider how the products and services they create can increase human wellbeing based on a wider spectrum of measure than economic growth and productivity alone (i.e., emotional health, societal impacts, environment, etc.). Sponsored by the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, IEEE P7010 identifies wellbeing Indicators and metrics relating to human factors directly affected by autonomous and intelligent systems and establishes a baseline for aligning the types of objective and subjective data these systems should analyze and include, in both programming and functionality, to proactively utilize these technologies to increase human wellbeing.
“IEEE understands the significance of designing and developing human-aligned autonomous and intelligent systems that prioritize individual, communal, and societal values,” said Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director for IEEE-SA. “As the technology advances, it’s clear that autonomous and intelligent systems will play an increasing role our daily lives. The efforts we undertake today are of utmost urgency to ensure all stakeholders are afforded the peace of mind to know these systems have been well thought out and incorporate the globally accepted ethical considerations at the heart of these technologies.”
Version 2 of Ethically Aligned Design is scheduled for publication before the end of 2017 and includes the collective input of the more than 250 global thought leaders in the fields of autonomous and intelligent technologies, robotics, law and ethics, philosophy, and policy from the realms of academia, science, government, and corporate sectors that are members of The IEEE Global Initiative.
Read reports from The IEEE Global Initiative: