ChinAI #164: SenseTime's AI Ethics for "Balanced Development"

More on SenseTime's AI Governance mechanisms

Greetings from a world where…

pumpkin pie does not suck

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Feature Translation: AI Ethics for Balanced Development

CONTEXT: On November 11, 2021, SenseTime released its “AI Sustainable Development Report 2021-2022: AI Ethics for Balanced Development” report (link to original in Mandarin). Previously, when breaking down SenseTime’s IPO Prospectus (ChinAI #154), I criticized the underwhelming AI ethics section for not naming members of their AI Ethics Council, boilerplate language, and not addressing ethnic profiling. Let’s take a look at section five of this new report, titled “AI ethics and governance practices.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Still no disclosure of who sits on SenseTime’s much-hyped AI ethics committee, which was formed January 2020. All we learn is that this 6-member group must have at least 1/3 of its members from external organizations (e.g., universities, think tanks); currently, 2 are external, and 4 are senior managers at SenseTime. There have been important conversations about the lack of diversity in AI ethics boards at U.S. companies. When it comes to China’s leading AI start-up, that conversation is a nonstarter because we don’t even know who’s on the board.

  • SenseTime reveals more details from its AI ethical review program, which evaluates whether ongoing or existing products meet its ethical standards. They have constructed a “global AI ethical risk database,” which incorporates more than 100 incidents (both positive and negative) associated with AI ethics. Since 2019, SenseTime reports rejecting 10% of product project proposals for not following its ethical codes. Those interested in this topic should look at the societal risks section (p. 41 of the pdf), which contains some terms that I can’t comprehend (e.g., 种群替代)

  • SenseTime will continue to play a leading role in domestic and international AI standard-setting forums. Below is a translated table of their involvement, from p. 46 of the report:

ChinAI Links

Behind on my reading this week, so forgive a few self-plugs:

Should-listen: Interview with The Gradient

I had a great conversation about some of my previous writing on China’s AI development with Andrey Kurenkov of The Gradient, a digital magazine that covers the latest research in AI. Their platform is a great way to keep informed of latest technical trends and debates in AI.

Should-watch: China’s Race for AI Supremacy

I gave some comments in a Bloomberg video about U.S.-China rivalry in AI, alongside Eric Schmidt and Robin Li. Includes some fun shots of the office where I work now.

Thank you for reading and engaging.

These are Jeff Ding's (sometimes) weekly translations of Chinese-language musings on AI and related topics. Jeff is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, sponsored by Stanford's Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

Check out the archive of all past issues here & please subscribe here to support ChinAI under a Guardian/Wikipedia-style tipping model (everyone gets the same content but those who can pay for a subscription will support access for all).

Any suggestions or feedback? Let me know at or on Twitter at @jjding99

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