IEC Standards play a key role in the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. IEC Technical Committee (TC) 65, for instance, carries out important work related to automation and smart manufacturing. Standards also play an important role in increasing trust in AI and help support public and private decision making.
In this context, the SMB (Standardization Management Board) has set up the Standards Evaluation Group (SEG) 10, Ethics in Autonomous and Artificial Intelligence Applications. Among other things, the scope of this SEG is to:
- Identify ethical issues and societal concerns that are relevant to IEC technical activities and formulate recommendations to the SMB
- Develop broadly applicable guidelines for IEC technical committees on ethical aspects related to autonomous and AI applications
- Ensure consistency of work across IEC committees and foster cooperation beyond traditional borders, including with ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1)
The SEG is coordinating its work with the Open Community for Ethics in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (OCEANIS) of which the IEC is a founding member. OCEANIS brings together standardization organizations from around the world with the aim of enhancing awareness about the role of standards in facilitating innovation and addressing issues related to ethics and values.
IEC and ISO are the first international standards development organizations (SDOs) to set up an expert group to carry out standardization activities for artificial intelligence. Subcommittee (SC) 42 is part of the joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1.
SC 42 works closely with other JTC 1 subcommittees, such as those addressing the Internet of Things, IT security, and IT governance, as well as the IEC Systems Committee (SyC) for Smart Cities. SC 42 has set up a working group on 'foundational' standards to provide a framework and a common vocabulary. Several study groups have been put in place to examine the computational approaches to and characteristics of AI systems, trustworthiness, use cases, applications, and big data.