Promote Ethical, Transparent and Inclusive AI
9.1 Ethics
NORA has a mission to promote ethical, transparent, and inclusive AI. A central part of this has been encouraging collaboration across member institutions on a PhD­-level. Encouraging collaboration between members of NORA on ethics has been a focus that helped produce a new initiative. The PhD course INFO901 Introduction to AI Ethics is scheduled to be held spring 2022. The course is given jointly by Marija Slavkovik (UiB) and Miria Grisot (UiO). The students can register either at the University of Bergen or the University of Oslo. The lectures will include invited guest lecturers from among the international academic researchers in AI ethics, as well as NAV and Datatilsynet. Previously Marija Slavkovik also presented in a jointly organised webinar NORA hosted together with the Norwegian Open AI Lab on 30 April 2021 with a focus on ‘machine ethics’, the behaviour of machines towards human users and other machines.

Engagement with the national ethics committees has been important. In particu­lar, the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT). Jim Tørresen (UiO) was on the committee responsible for the white paper 'Research Ethics Report on AI' (Norwegian: Forsk­ningsetisk betenkning om kunstig intelligent), which was commented on by NORA’s CEO Klas Pettersen at the November 2019 launch.
On 6 November 2020, NORA held a webinar with Jim Tørresen on the topic of Ethical Consideration in Robotics and Intelligent Systems Research. This dis­cussion was based on a report by NENT on ethical considerations of research on AI and work by Tønnesen. In this report, the overall recommendations were to (1) ensure human dignity, (2) localise responsibility, (3) enable auditability, (4) research communications, (5) recognise uncertainty, (6) ensure broad involvement, (7) privacy, (8) quality assurance and (9) access to data. NORA also took part in establishing the Norwegian Council for Digital Ethics (NORDE) in January 2020.

In late 2021, NORA was approached by Abbey Lin who had been running a website for ethical AI resources, ethicalairesources.com. NORA had already made information about the field of AI more available through AI maps and the Norwegian AI Directory, and this resource was established with the aim to aggregate resources to assist in developing and deploying more ethi­cal AI. This website is being redeveloped by NORA to provide a continuous flow of resources in AI ethics and to engage with the member community.

“Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in achieving the SDGs. However, a developmental shift towards sustainable artificial intelligence ecosystems is required. This includes ensuring equality, open data access, green data centres, and reduced carbon footprints of algorithms”.
– Solve Sæbø, Professor Rector at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

One of NORA’s strategic goals is trust­ based and transparent use of AI through ethical awareness.

In the Norwegian government ́s AI Strategy, collaboration with the EU has a clear commitment. The Norwegian State has adopted the seven principles shaped by the EU high­level expert group on AI as its basis for ethical and responsible development of AI in Norway. The fourth principle adopted is AI­-based systems must be transparent:

  1. Informing data subjects of processing.
  2. Computer systems must not pretend to be human beings.
  3. The right for people to know if they are interacting with an AI system.
On a national level, building capacity and accountability to tackle issues related to the field of AI has been of great impor­tance. In this regard, NORA has worked to inform several initiatives across the Norwegian State. This has been done through meetings with the interdepartmental group for AI in the Norwegian State and involvements in various boards.

On a European level, the EU is introduc­ing a risk­-based framework through the proposed EU AI Act (AIA). NORA gathered input from legal researchers and technical AI researchers to assist the Norwegian government in their general input to the European Commission on their initial pro­posal. Transparency is also important in major international systems deploying AI that affect Norwegian citizens. On 29 No­vember 2021, NORA invited the Norwegian Data Protection Authority (Datatilsynet), Faktisk.no (fact checker) and a security startup to a webinar to discuss the cur­rent challenges related to AI, misinforma­tion and social entrepreneurship. NORA has also supported FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and responsible research and innovation (RRI). Several NORA research­ers and NORA’s CEO are represented on the Data Infrastructure Committee (Norwegian: Datainfrastrukturutvalg) appointed by the Research Council of Norway on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Research, writing a white paper on how Norway should organise infrastructure and promote fair data for research and public management.

NORA has been contributing to discussions about sustainability in the field of AI. This has been done by organising webinars on the topic, contributing to high­level discus­sions, and building awareness. One webinar held in 2021 was dedicated to Sustainable AI. Solve Sæbø (prorector NMBU), who participated in the webinar, later the same year spoke at the High­ Level Political Fo­rum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). NORA assisted with the speech and the following statement was made regarding AI at HLPF 2021 on behalf of Norway:
“Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in achieving the SDGs. However, a developmental shift towards sustainable artificial intelligence ecosystems is re­quired. This includes ensuring equality, open data access, green data centres, and reduced carbon footprints of algorithms”.
An example of a research group from our members working towards this is the Nordic Centre for Sustainable and Trust­ worthy Artificial Intelligence Research (NordSTAR). The centre aims to establish a new paradigm in basic AI research, so­ called sustainable and trustworthy AI. A webinar was held to introduce NordSTAR on 9 February 2021. Applied research in the emerging field of sustainable AI has also received attention. The Greener Logistics with AI webinar on 24 Septem­ber 2021 is an example that focused on research conducted by SINTEF.

NORA pushes for gender balance in all initiatives
NORA promotes inclusivity and diversity
NORA hosted a session on Women in AI

Equality and Diversity in AI
In NORA, we actively strive to improve the position of and increase the visibility of women in the field of AI. By increasing the visibility of women actively contributing to the field of AI in Norway, we aim to inspire a more inclusive agenda in the otherwise male­-dominated field of AI to ensure equality for future generations. Our goal is to raise awareness by promoting female role models and by portraying the breadth of opportunities for AI in society at large. Through the women active in our AI campaign, we’ve brought together researchers, practitioners, students and industry representatives to address the gender disparity in the field and explore initiatives to ensure inclusivity and diversity in AI for the future.

The campaign started on 8 March 2021 on International Women’s Day. In honour of the day, we published the article ‘Female Role Models Changing the Field of AI in Norway’, which lists 74 women working in the AI field in Norway. The article includes short biographies and quotes from the women featured. When NORA published the article, there were 30 women listed, but the list grew shortly afterwards. While NORA started out with a short article, the article soon grew into a larger campaign which sparked promotion on our social media platforms. By promoting the bio­graphies of the women and their accomplishments on social media, our network commented on and nominated colleagues, friends and acquaintances who should also be included on the list. As the list grew, the relevance of the list also became abundantly clear. Organisations contacted us regarding the list and asked us for con­ tact information of various representatives featured on the list.

The article has proved to be useful as a reference tool for many actors when planning panels and debates on various topics.

Besides publishing the article promoting women in AI, NORA and NORA.startup have engaged in conversations with our partners on the topic of diversity and gender in AI. By focusing on the topic and by providing a platform for open discussion, NORA aims to develop initiatives that can increase the inclusion of a more diverse workforce in the future. In November, NORA.startup hosted a webinar session on Women in AI, where we invited female researchers, practitioners, and founders to address the gender disparity in tech startups and research and discuss initiatives to ensure inclusivity and diversity in AI for the future.

NORA also entered into a collaboration with the Northern Lights Deep Learning Conference 2022 to host a session on Women in AI. The Women in AI Event was organised as a side event at the Northern Lights Deep Learning Conference NLDL, which is a conference organised by SFI Visual Intelligence, hosted by UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Through the Women in AI campaign, NORA has dedicated efforts towards sup­porting universities, university colleges, research institutions, startups, faculties, and individual researchers who wish to discuss and address the gender gap in STEM education and in industry.

NORA is also involved at the British Embassy in Norway’s Women in Tech initiative. The initiative aims to create an inclusive platform for women in tech, be they stu­dents, researchers, founders, or practitioners. The platform will offer events and activities for women in tech, and will be a community for networking, advice, and support.

At NORA, we are continuously pushing for gender balance in all our initiatives. We strive to have gender balance in our webinars, conferences, and panels and on our board and elected committees. Inclusivity and diversity in AI form a vital part of the vision and mission of NORA and of our partners, and we will continue to promote these principles in our agenda going forward.

The poster ‘Gender Bias in AI: Perspec­tives of AI Practitioners’ was created by Cathrine Bui and Lara Okafor, master’s student at the University of Oslo. Through interviews, the study has found that an instrumentalist perspective of technology limited the practitioners’ understanding of issues of bias because the view tends to value quantifiable data over human values, context, or history.

About the Women in Tech Iniative
Professor Kjersti Engan speaking at NORA kick­off event
Our Women in Tech initiative was created to build meaningful connections between smart­-minded women through digital and physical spaces, driv­ing change for women in business and academia.

Our aim? To provide an open and inclusive community which supports ambitious women in building skills, confidence, and networks, at every stage of their career, in a trusted community that shares ideas, challenges and celebrations.
This initiative was created by the British Em­bassy in Oslo in partnership with BI Business School, Capassa, Digital Norway, Microsoft Norway, NORA and Oslo Business Region.