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Governance by Design: What does it mean to think governance first when employing AI

Welcome, dear reader, to a world that's buzzing with AI. It's in our phones, our homes, our workplaces, even our cars. AI has become such an integral part of our lives that it's hard to imagine a world without it. But with great power comes great responsibility.

AI, as it stands, is a bit like the wild west. It's a new frontier, with endless opportunities for discovery and innovation. But without rules and regulations, it can also be a place of lawlessness and unpredictability. That's where governance comes in, and not just any governance - we're talking about Governance by Design.

What is Governance by Design?

In essence, Governance by Design is all about baking governance right into the AI development process. Instead of it being an afterthought, governance becomes a guiding principle from the get-go. It's not about stifling innovation, far from it. It's about ensuring that AI is developed and deployed in a responsible, ethical, and transparent manner.

The concept of 'Governance by Design' is analogous to 'Privacy by Design', a principle in data protection law that calls for privacy considerations to be factored into the design stage of any system, service, or product. It's about proactively integrating governance, rather than reactively applying it.

Why Does It Matter?

Governance by Design matters because it helps to ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically. It's about recognizing that while AI can bring many benefits, it also has the potential to cause harm. From issues around bias and fairness to concerns about privacy and transparency, there are many ethical and legal challenges that need to be navigated when using AI.

By adopting a Governance by Design approach, businesses can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure they're using AI in a way that's not only legal but also ethical and responsible.

The Key Components of Governance by Design

At its core, Governance by Design is built around three key pillars:

1. Ethical Considerations: This involves ensuring that AI is used in a way that respects human rights, promotes fairness, and avoids bias. It's about ensuring that AI serves humanity, not the other way around.

2. Legal Compliance: This involves making sure that AI is used in a way that complies with all relevant laws and regulations. This can range from data protection laws to sector-specific regulations.

3. Transparency: This involves being open and transparent about how AI is used, including how decisions are made and how data is handled. This can help to build trust and acceptance among stakeholders.

But how can businesses put these principles into practice?

Putting Governance by Design into Practice

Implementing Governance by Design is not a one-size-fits-all process. It depends on the specifics of the organization and the AI systems in question. However, here are some steps that can help businesses get started:

1. Develop an AI Governance Framework: This framework should outline the organization's approach to AI governance, including its ethical principles, legal obligations, and commitment to transparency. It should be a living document, updated as necessary to reflect changes in the AI landscape.

2. Appoint an AI Governance Board: This board should include stakeholders from across the organization, including legal, ethical, and technical experts. The board should oversee the implementation of the AI governance framework and ensure that it is adhered to.

3. Conduct AI Ethics Impact Assessments: Similar to Data Protection Impact Assessments in the world of data privacy, AI Ethics Impact Assessments can help to identify potential ethical risks and devise strategies to mitigate them.

4. Implement AI Auditing: Regular audits can help to ensure that AI systems are operating as intended and in line with


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