NEC ‘Welcomes’ Ethical, Regulatory Discussions Over AI and Facial Recognition: CEO

NEC has joined the chorus of tech companies and other stakeholders calling for greater regulation of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technologies, with the company’s CEO, Takashi Niino, writing in a statement that his firm “welcomes greater industry collaboration and effective discussion for the future of facial recognition technology and business.”

The statement comes after a report issued by the AI Now research group earlier this month warning of the dangers of under-regulated AI and facial recognition use, and calling on the industry to offer transparency about how their technologies work and to submit to external audits; meanwhile, Microsoft President Brad Smith has repeatedly called on government authorities to set regulatory limits on how such technologies can be used, seeing to establish a level playing field for the industry rather than rely on companies to self-regulate.

For NEC’s part, Niino acknowledged some of the ethical and rights issues that have been brought up by AI Now and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, pointing to the potential for the industry to “build a foundation of responsibility to protect people against discrimination, invasions of privacy and violations of human rights.”

NEC “supports various governments’ considerations for reasonable policy, setting privacy standards for personal information and preventing unlawful discrimination related to this technology,” he said. “Businesses, consumers, and the government should work together to help balance the need for privacy with the benefits of protecting our society, securing our borders and providing consumer convenience without the fear of negative consequences.”

To that end, Niino said that NEC has launched a “Digital Trust Business Strategy Division” to develop a “Human Rights by Design” strategy for AI. He also noted NEC’s work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to ensure the accuracy of its biometric technologies, and committed to continue working with NIST standards.

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December 19, 2018 – by Alex Perala