Why AI Ethics Should Focus on Sustainable and Transformative Inclusion for All

World Enabled COSP 11 partners

11th Conference of the States Parties to CRPD, June 12, 12:30 pm — 1:45 pm
UN Headquarters Conference Room 12, New York, NY 10017

image: various concepts connected on the web around the words artificial intelligence. image credit: swisscognitive

Despite recent advances in assistive technology and inclusive planning, people with disabilities and older persons continue to face economic, physical, and political discrimination and exclusion. Social and physical barriers too often prevent people with disabilities and older persons from fully enjoying their rights to employment, education, health, and independence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one avenue that could help break down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in their community.

I believe that AI presents opportunities for over 1 billion people to do more and achieve more in their own lives and their societies. With urgent action from government, industry, and civil society, we can forge new and innovative partnerships and financing mechanisms to utilize AI in supporting the inclusive goals 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda (NUA), and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and do so in an equitable, safe, and transparent manner.

This June, I will be joining some of the world’s leading figures in human rights and development for the 11th Conference of the States Parties to the CRPD in New York. As part of the Conference’s side events, two leading organization that I am affiliated with the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) and World Enabled will partner with the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, and Denmark to host a panel on the role AI can play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I’m also excited that this high-level event is also being co-sponsored by our friends at Microsoft, UN Habitat, and CBM.

This panel, features experts on artificial intelligence and machine learning, inclusive design, sustainable development, and human rights. Together we will identify a set of policy recommendations and explore collaborative action frameworks for implementing inclusive AI in education, employment, and international development. These issues relate to the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal 17 which in conjunction with CRPD Articles 9 and 32, calls for accessibility and cooperation in revitalizing the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development and financing the 2030 Agenda.

My good friend, H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative from the UAE Mission to the UN will provide opening remarks and help set the stage for our discussion. We will learn about key commitments being made in Canada, Singapore, Denmark and will hear remarks from the World’s first and only Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, HE Omar bin Sultan al Olama. Megan Lawrence, Accessibility Technical Evangelist, Microsoft, will stress that Microsoft will be a key partner in shaping AI technology and will announce a path breaking investment on AI for Accessibility. IBM researcher Dr. Shari Trewin and World Bank Disability and Development Specialist Deepti Samant Raja, will also give insight into how AI is now shaping the future of work and education.

As an urban planner and as the director of the Inclusive Cities Lab at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, I’m also excited to explore how AI can help impact more inclusive urban development. How can AI and machine learning dramatically alter the way our cities form, move, grow and respond to the diverse lifestyles of people who may prefer to roll instead of walk, hear written communication instead of read it, or conversely see spoken communication instead of hear it?

A local approach to implementing the sustainable development goals must also include innovations relative to education (CRPD Article 24), and employment (CRPD Article 27), which address access to education, employment, and healthcare respectively. AI can have significant disruptive effects on the future of work and education — speakers will question how artificial intelligence can be leveraged to advance vocational and educational programs for people with disabilities as well as facilitate an open and accessible work environment so people with disabilities can pursue careers and live independently. Panelists will also examine how AI can create or transform healthcare services to enable persons with disabilities to thrive and participate in the communities where they live, as well as how AI design can be molded to preferences and needs of people with disabilities.

image: a human and its connection to artificial intelligence. image credit to dailyexcelsior

Though artificial intelligence presents an as-yet unknown challenge to current digital development policies and inclusion efforts for persons with disabilities and older persons, proactive movement toward inclusive policies and international cooperation on digital development can mitigate or prevent these challenges. This panel will build a framework for disability-responsive AI by discussing questions about necessary legislative measures, budgetary and executive support, institutional capacity, changing attitudes and beliefs, and increasing the participation of people with disabilities.

image: a human and its connection to artificial intelligence. image credit to dailyexcelsior

Format and speakers
A panel featuring the Minister of State on AI from the UAE and leading experts on Artificial Intelligence, Sustainable Development, Design, and Human Rights will engage with the audience in a moderated discussion.

Dr. Victor Pineda, President of GAATES and World ENABLED

Welcome Remarks


COSP 11 AI Event Flyer

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