Certification for AI technology could soon be a reality

The Foundation for Responsible Robotics

Can AI survive without public trust? The Foundation for Responsible Robotics thinks that without official quality control, the technology will never truly succeed – which is why it has teamed up with professional services network Deloitte to create a certified mark of quality for machine intelligence technology. 

Co-directed by Professor Noel Sharkey, the FRR recognizes the positive impact artificial intelligence could have on society, including “monitoring and repairing climate change destruction” and the “early diagnosis of disease”. 

Despite the conceivable benefits of AI technology, the FRR believes that “cracks are beginning to appear”, with the gender and racial biases of developers and society at large influencing the way the technology works, as well as issues with privacy causing concern among the general public. 

Responsible robotics

The teething problems that AI technology is experiencing in this early stage of its development is why the FRR feels that a certified measure of quality is needed. Sharkey thinks this is crucial to the success of the fledgling technology, as “society could reap enormous benefits from AI and Robotics, but only if we get it right.”

He continues: “We need to counter the scare stories, and the hype, or risk a public backlash. We must offer the public a mark of quality that helps them to make informed decisions.”

Fellow co-director of the FRR, Aimee van Wynsberghe echoes this as she says, “our goal is to shape a culture of responsible development of AI and Robotics to promote public good and a better life for us and generations to come.”

Quality control

The FRR and Deloitte have released the short animation above to explain some of the possible risks of AI technology becoming more ingrained in our everyday lives. 

Following a mother and daughter as they walk through a busy street, we see news broadcasts about AI data breaches, shops where human assistance is only offered as a premium service, and robots serving customers coffee in a bustling cafe. 

With robots mingling freely with humans, the little girl spies an adorable robot puppy companion and urges her mother to buy her one – but when they come to purchasing it, they are met with a request to accept some unseen terms and conditions. 

Although the overall tone of the animation is one of foreboding, the FRR is offering a tangible solution to fears that AI robots could lead to “job losses, the exposure of intimate data, emotional manipulation, and unfair discrimination” through its quality mark initiative. 

So far, no manufacturers are officially signed up to the scheme, but with some companies lined up for pilot case studies, the regulation of AI technology looks like a very real possibility. 

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.