The development of AI ethics in Russia

On October 26, 2021, the AI Ethics Code was adopted in Russia. It was an important step towards the formation of “soft” regulation in the field of artificial intelligence – such regulation that is not established by “hard” law.

Such regulation independently developed by stakeholders, in our case — players operating in the artificial intelligence (AI) market who voluntarily are ready to assume obligations to follow the established rules and principles reached through agreements. Thus, the goal of creating a comfortable regular environment for AI technologies is achieved by establishing such rules that do not restrict their development, but contribute to it.
AI ethics represents a set of voluntary principles and rules designed to create an environment for the trusted development of AI technologies. Since AI penetrates into all spheres of our life: healthcare, education, transport, management, ecology, agriculture, industry, culture and leisure, etc., there is an increasing need to establish regulatory institutions within the context of this technologies.
First of all, with the help of AI ethics, one of the main goals of all participants in the AI market is achieved — the formation of a trusting attitude of society represented by end users of technologies to AI systems. The main request of the consumer is that the technologies used by him are controlled, explicable, safe and reliable. In addition, technologies should function on the basis of the principles of fairness, non-discrimination and transparency.
One of the main functions of the AI Ethics Code is to consolidate the general ethical principles and standards of conduct that should guide the parties involved in the relations in the field of AI in their activities. Thus, the principles set forth in the Code apply to all persons who use, develop, operate or otherwise influence AI systems in one way or another.
The Code is based on 6 main principles that form the basis of detailed recommendations:

  • The key priority of AI technologies development is protection of the interests and rights of human beings at large and every person in particular;
  • Responsibility must be fully acknowledged when creating and using AI;
  • Humans are always responsibile for the consequences of AI systems application;
  • AI technologies should be used in accordance with the intended purpose and integrated where it will benefit people;
  • Interests of ai technologies development outweigh the interests of competition;
  • Maximum transparency and reliability of information concerning the level of AI technologies development, their capabilities and risks are crucial.

The implementation of the Code is carried out at the site of the AI Alliance, which unites leading technology companies for the joint development of their competencies and accelerated implementation of AI. In order to implement the provisions of the Code and monitor the effectiveness of its application, the Commission for AI Ethics Code (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) was established in May 2022. The Commission includes leading Russian experts in the field of AI ethics, who are representatives of the members of the Code. Andrey Neznamov, Managing Director of AI Regulation Center (Sber) was elected as the Chairman of the Commission. Ethical norms and principles developed within the framework of the activities of the Commission and working groups functioning within the Commission play an important role in the field of regulation of new technologies, as they act as an additional mechanism for guaranteeing human rights and freedoms in its interaction with AI and other technologies.
It is important to note that the accession of organizations to the Code is carried out on a voluntary basis. By becoming a member of the Code the organization demonstrates its commitment to the principles of AI ethics and thus declares their practical application within the framework of its activities.
During the year of the Code’s existence, the number of its members has increased 7 times. Currently, the Code has united more than 120 representatives of business community, developers, the scientific community, non-profit organizations and government agencies, thus creating a large-scale professional community. Therefore, today we can say with confidence that Russia is one of the leading countries in the field of AI ethics.
Moreover, it should be noted the wide geography of the participants of the Code. This year, the rounds of signing the Code were held in various regions of Russia: in Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, as well as in the Far East.
Thus, the adoption of the AI Ethics Code and the development of mechanisms for its implementation through the activities of the Commission and working groups, as well as the functioning of the institute of AI Ethics Commissioners contribute both to solving the social challenge of increasing the level of public confidence in new technologies and regulatory issues, reducing the regulatory burden on AI market players and also the state regulator.

Elena Mimoglyadova, Sberbank’s AI Regulation Center
All illustrations were created using Kandinsky, Sberbank’s neural network