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China backs UN pledge to ban (its own) social scoring

Originally published:
Nov 23, 2021

Melissa Heikkilä’s recent piece in Politico examines the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recent recommendation for its member states to stop using AI technology for social scoring systems – a practice used by Beijing “to score Chinese citizens based on their perceived trustworthiness.” Most notably, this is the first time China signed onto an international organization’s set of principles to end utilizing AI technology for mass surveillance. Due to the voluntary nature of these recommendations, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Gabriela Ramos did not comment on whether or not she believes China will abide by these new regulations. However, China’s signature comes shortly after the country released its own framework regarding AI Ethics


Ramos recognizes that the committee’s framework will provide a stepping stone for other organizations across the globe to take steps to regulate AI – including the EU and the US, who is not a member state of this committee. This recommendation is important to the growth of AI regulation across the world because it is a concrete framework for governments and governing bodies to model their own frameworks after as calls for regulation continue to grow.

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