Telefónica joins the fAIr LAC initiative to promote the ethical use of AI in Latin America

Telefónica joins the fAIrLAC initiative to promote the ethical application of AI for services with social impact.

Renata Dutra

Renata Dutra-Borges de Almeida Follow

Reading time: 3 min

Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform both industry and companies, but also the way citizens live. At the same time, the massive use of AI raises questions and a sense of urgency about how to protect the security and privacy of the personal data that feeds it. How can AI be harnessed for the benefit of citizens and how to ensure responsible use? 

With these approaches, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and BID Lab, together with several leading global partners, launches fAIr LAC, a pioneering project that unites governments, universities and the private sector to promote the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

fAIrLAC is a regional initiative of the IDB, in the form of technical cooperation, which aims to promote the ethical application of AI for social impact services, in order to make them more efficient, fair and citizen-oriented. The initiative was born with the objective of taking advantage of the immense potential of this new technology to create more efficient, fair and personalized social services for the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean, in an ethical and responsible manner.

 Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB, with representatives of the partners

Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB, with representatives of the partners

A growing number of countries in the region are already using technology to manage their social services programmes. Thanks to the high predictive power of Artificial Intelligence, this technology can improve medical diagnoses, predict school dropout or facilitate the search for a job. The uses and opportunities opened up by AI affect practically all areas of government attention to its citizens, but its use must respect the privacy of citizens’ data and foresee possible biases in the construction of algorithms.

The fAIR LAC alliance is formed by a diverse group of experts from different governments, academic institutions, private companies, non-governmental organizations, innovation centres and specialists from different areas of the IDB. This group of experts is already collaborating to study cases of the use of artificial intelligence in areas such as health, education or social security.

Among the regional partners of this initiative, there are entities and companies such as Cminds as main partner, Microsoft, Google Telefonica and IDRC. At the local level, collaboration will take place with AGESIC, Facebook NTT/Everis and Tecnológico de Monterrey, among others.

What is Fair Lac?

The work of the fAIr LAC initiative will focus on three axes:

  • To develop standards and tools that guide a responsible and reliable use of artificial intelligence in Latin America and the Caribbean through certifications, algorithmic audits and specific guides.
  • Encourage its responsible adoption through pilots and formation of regional hubs to promote knowledge of the ethical risks of using artificial intelligence in social services and ways to mitigate these risks.
  • To lead a dialogue around the responsible use of this technology centred on citizens and from the perspective of diversity and inclusion, through the promotion of a diverse ecosystem with networks of experts, conferences and the creation of an observatory of use cases.

The first pilot of this initiative began in the state of Jalisco (Mexico) together with BID Lab. There, a project  using AI has been launched for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in the country.

fAIrLAC’s mission fits completely with Telefónica’s approach in its Artificial Intelligence Principles, launched in October 2018, and is the backbone of the fourth chapter of the Digital Manifesto, launched in June 2018.

In this sense, the IDB project is a relevant platform of great regional and local impact, where to take, disseminate and influence the definition of ethical standards of AI in Latin America.


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