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International Colloquium on Artificial Intelligence Ethics: From Emerging Standards to Perspectives of Implementation

At the opening session of the International Colloquium on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics: From Emerging Standards to Perspectives of Implementation, on 22 July 2022, Mrs. Amina Bouayach, CNDH Chairperson, noted that the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) acknowledges the contribution of digital and AI systems to access rights, however, the CNDH is fully aware of their impacts on privacy, discrimination against women, races and colors, persons with disabilities, etc.

During the two-day meeting, Mrs. Bouayach affirmed that the CNDH is very attentive to the challenges of the digital space first, as a space to protect and promote human rights, and as an echo chamber to disseminate hate speech, discrimination, violence, etc. "In other words, a space of dissemination a culture, fundamentally, opposed and contrary to human rights", she said.

Mrs. Bouayach also raised the issues related to the implementation of ethical rules to reduce the impact and outcomes of AI systems on human rights in general and on vulnerable categories particularly.

Mr. Abdellatif Miraoui, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation underlined that despite the benefits of AI which will transform lives; it will have to be regulated to identify the most humane framework possible.

In line with CNDH recommendations on AI, Mr. Miraoui announced the introduction of ethics and human rights education in the technical and technological departments of Higher Education.

Within the same context, Mr. Karim Hendilli, Acting Director of the UNESCO Maghreb Region Office, highlighted the involvement of the UN organization in the field of AI ethics as well as their importance to reduce inequalities all over the world. He also emphasized that women are a minority in the new technologies field since they only represent 22%.

Mr. Omar Seghrouchni, President of the National Commission for the Control of Personal Data Protection (CNDP), shed light on Morocco's vision for the protection of personal data and privacy in relation to AI. He also called for ensuring the protection of citizens in the digital ecosystem.

Along the same lines, Mrs. Sarah El Amrani, Director of Communication and Cooperation Studies at the Ministry of Digital Transition and Administrative Reform, underlined the importance of keeping up with the development of new technologies, and supporting actions aiming at implementing AI systems that benefit humanity, individuals, societies, environment and ecosystems.

Referring to the report of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) on the digital transition in Morocco, Mr. Amine Alami, CESE member, noted that the first AI classes in Morocco took place in 1989 but, it wasn’t, as a discipline, developed in the technological development of the country. In this regard, Mr. Alami called for the promotion of the proper use of new information technology in schools by teaching human rights values.

This colloquium was the outcome of wide-ranging consultations launched more than three years ago on issues relating to protecting and promoting human rights in the field of digital technology and AI. It brought together international speakers from Africa, South America, North America and Europe to further discuss available standards and tools to better assist in evaluating the development of AI that respects and protects fundamental rights and freedoms.

It was in line with the Rabat Declaration on “Artificial Intelligence and Digital Citizenship - For an Artificial Intelligence respecting Human Rights” which was adopted by national and international experts in December 2021.

On the occasion of this event, the CNDH published the proceedings of the International Seminar on "AI and human rights" organized on 3 December 2021, during which the Rabat Declaration on "Artificial Intelligence and Digital Citizenship - For an Artificial Intelligence Respecting Human Rights" was developed. This Seminar was also an opportunity to establish the scientific committee, which will provide consultation, support and guidance on the implementation of the recommendations announced in this Declaration.

This colloquium was organized in collaboration with UNESCO, Digital Development Agency, National Center for Scientific and Technical Research, Mohammed V University of Rabat, Mohammed I University of Oujda, Ibn Tofaïl University of Kenitra, Abdelmalek Essaâdi University of Tetouan, Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University of Rabat-Benguerir, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University of Fez, Euro-Mediterranean University of Fez, AI Movement, and Policy Center for the New South.