Ottawa Rolls Out Voluntary Code of Conduct For AI as “Fear” Persists Over Its Use

Courtesy of Barrie360.com and Canadian PressPublished: Sep 27th, 2023

By Christopher Reynolds in Montreal

Some big players in Canada’s technology sector have signed on to a voluntary code of conduct for generative AI announced by the federal government Wednesday as anxiety persists over its proliferation and pace of development.

The self-imposed safeguards will “build safety and trust as the technology spreads,” Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne told a crowd of techies at the All In artificial intelligence conference in Montreal.

So far, executives from a dozen Canadian companies and organizations have signed on, including BlackBerry, OpenText, Cohere, Telus and the Canadian Council of Innovators, which represents more than 100 startups.

The document lays out measures businesses can take when working in advanced generative AI — the algorithmic engine behind chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can spit out anything from term papers to psychotherapy. Drawing criticism — and legal action in the U.S. — for potential breaches of privacy, equity and intellectual property, the software churns through vast troves of text, audio and visual data to produce new content.

The measures range from screening datasets for potential biases to assessing for potential “malicious use of the system.” They also align with six key principles that include equity, transparency and human oversight, worked out through a consultation process.

“We have witnessed technology advancing at what I would say is lightning speed,” Champagne said.

“The mission we should give ourselves is to move from fear to opportunities.”

Patricia Dent

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