Federation Council’s Board decides in Innopolis how to provide digital breakthrough without violating citizens’ rights

An AI code of ethics to be fixed in legislation

Artificial intelligence actively enters our lives. Robot couriers, unmanned taxis, telemedicine, voice assistants have already become a reality. However, their activity isn’t yet legally regulated. Innopolis hosted a meeting of the Federation Council’s Board of Digital Economy Development dedicated to the introduction and regulation of artificial intelligence. Experts and senators noted that when using AI security and personal data protection should be a priority. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“To get rid of excessive barriers”

Before the beginning of the meeting of the Board of Digital Economy Development, First Vice Chairman of the Upper Chamber of the country’s Parliament Andrey Turchak was shown all innovative features of Innopolis such as a robot courier, unmanned taxi that, as he admitted, he took for the first time, a robot dog obeying human commands. All this impressed the senator so much that opening the meeting he offered the Russian government to consider the possibility of introducing an additional quota for regions to participate in a contest of artificial intelligence research centres. Innopolis, as it is known, is the only regional research centre to win this competition.

“There are six winners in the country, moreover, five of them are in Moscow. I offer to think about the introduction of a special nomination or a quota for the Federation’s regions, since it is important for their development, and it is no less important to retain and attract IT staff. Unfortunately, the percentage of specialists who want to move to big cities, turn out in the capital, abroad is very high at the moment. We should think about retaining these specialists “East of West, home is best,” noted the first vice chairman of the Federation Council.

According to him, this year became decisive for AI technology development in Russia. The Russian president set two key tasks in this sphere — to get rid of excessive barriers on the path of introduction of the latest AI solutions, the creation of the legal environment complying with the technological progress and protection of citizens’ rights and interests. In particularly, it is necessary to solve issues of providing privacy and personal data confidentiality, who will be responsible for mistakes of AI, who will have the rights to AI and so on. All this requires legislative regulation.

“We should legally provide a digital breakthrough, the development of artificial intelligence technologies, provide the adoption of all necessary laws, regulations so that this topic isn’t stalled, on the one hand, to answer the main question our citizens have, it is the safety of the use of technologies and personal data protection,” Turchak concluded.

Robots to increase jobs

The speaker urged the audience to make any decisions of IT regarding citizens transparent and disputable. Particularly, it is necessary to provide the disclosure of criteria AI uses when making a decision, especially if this applies to legally important issues. Citizens must be informed about the use of AI technologies. Turchak put an example of public transport where passengers are notified about being filmed. It is also important to impose a legislative ban on added parameters discriminating citizens on various grounds to AI technologies.

He also calmed down those who fear people will be driven out of the labour market and be replaced by robots. According to today’s research, there will be created more jobs in production and service automation than laid off. Robots will take on routine operations, but management functions, decision making, interpersonal communication will be up to humans.

Due to this, the state has the task of uninterruptedly training and retraining staff, the senator claimed. People whose jobs became obsolete must have a chance of getting a new speciality. And specialists will study and work all their life, regardless of their age. Consequently, the education system must quickly adapt to employers and the economy’s requests.

Digitalisation of regional parliaments

Turchak stressed that the country’s technological supremacy in artificial intelligence is impossible without the development of Russian electronics and digital products. Due to this, preferences are designed for companies using Russian products. In particular, a bill on accelerated amortisation of Russian electronics and software was prepared within the second package of support for the IT industry and will be considered at the State Duma’s spring session in 2022.

The speaker claimed that this will facilitate the active launch of Russian innovative products not only in the public sector but also among private businesses, the competition with foreign suppliers will grow.

Turchak also announced the start of the work on the digitalisation of representative power agencies. This is an initiative of the Federation Council’s Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko. The launch of Digital Parliament project is planned in regional legislative power agencies too. This will raise the efficiency and transparency in the interaction between citizens and representative power, the quality of adopted laws.

Second package of support measures for IT sector is ready

Fully-fledged development of artificial intelligence is possible when this issue is considered holistically, stressed Vice Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitry Chernyshenko. He noted that a lot of attention was paid in 2021 to the introduction of AI technologies, as the efficiency of various sectors of the economy with their application grows 6-7 times. The federal project Artificial Intelligence envisages different support measures for the IT sector. So in August Skolkovo Foundation announced a contest with grants from 20 to 100 million rubles.

“We expect that thanks to this measure more than 50 projects across the country will get resources to test their technologies in Russian organisations in priority sectors by 2024. 740 million rubles have been allocated for these goals in 2021. Also, the project includes financial support for start-ups using AI technologies. By 2024, more than 1,200 teams will receive financial support, acceleration programmes will be carried out. Grants total 20 million rubles there,” the vice premier made the plans public.

He reminded the audience that 162 start-ups had received such support and 136 teams were accelerated in 2021. Also, in October 2021, the government supported six research centres in priority AI development areas. Innopolis University is among them. Till the end of 2024, they will be given 5,4 billion rubles, another 2,5 billion rubles will be added by industrial partners.

Chernyshenko noted that educational AI programmes were actively developed. Innopolis University is actively involved in them. by 2024, Russian universities must have 10 bachelor and 40 master’s programmes in this area. The number of public funded spots in universities in artificial intelligence has increased by more than 7,000. 500,000 people will study digital technologies by 2024. Though, the vice premier admitted, “this won’t fill the deficit of staff.”

But the most important thing is that the second package of support for the IT sector is ready, it includes 62 measures. It should be reminded that the first package envisaged indefinite income tax rate reduction for IT companies from 20 to 3%, a considerable fall in the burden of the payroll fund as well as a decline in the insurance premium rates from 14 to 7,6%. According to the vice premier, these decisions allowed companies of the sector to save tens of billions of rubles and invest this money in developing their businesses. Chernyshenko claimed that if the Federation Council support this, the government is ready to start developing the third package of support measures for IT businesses.

IT quarter in Kazan centre

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov reminded them that the republic was one of the leaders in the country’s IT sphere, ranked first in digitalisation among the regions in Skolkovo’s rating (in 2020). He emphasised that the region, first of all, actively developed IT infrastructure. The country’s first IT Park was created in 2009 (today 328 residents work there in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny). This year, another building has been purchased to expand the area of IT Park in the republic’s capital. It will be located next to Sberbank’s School 21. Together, they will shape a new IT quarter in the centre of Kazan.

Minnikhanov noted that Innopolis University trained unique staff, which the country lacked at the moment. Also, a federal educational centre was created there in 2020 where 16,000 teachers had already upgraded their qualifications. The head of the republic was pleased to stress that the university’s graduates stayed in the city and developed their own projects there.

The Tatarstan leader informed the audience that 2022 was declared the year of digitalisation in the republic, which inspired Andrey Turchak who recommended other regions to support this initiative. While Russian Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev noted that Innopolis became a good site to host events and offered to hold a big IT forum here in 2022.

Stores without salespeople

At the end of the meeting, the Board of Digital Economy Development made a series of specific decisions. It particularly offered:

  • To develop an AI code of ethics and fix it in legislation. The document will lay basic principles of the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence. By joining the code, developers will commit themselves to be responsible for the influence of AI systems on society and admit that humans, their rights and freedoms are the main value when developing artificial intelligence.
  • To design a roadmap to regulate, use and introduce artificial intelligence technologies. It is in particular necessary to determine the legal content of the term AI, envisage the copyright and so on.
  • To create a mechanism of compensation for the damage caused by using artificial intelligence.
  • To simplify exports of Russian AI developers.
  • Use artificial intelligence at call centres and public institutions’ dispatcher services.

Here voice assistants are meant that help to choose standard services or obtain necessary information without turning to the operator. They are successfully used in commercial organisations and can be used in housing and utilities and other organisations.

The introduction of such technologies became especially topical during the pandemic when the number of calls in different public institutions considerable rose. Employees turned out to have so many calls, while it became difficult for citizens to ask some questions. At the same time, this isn’t the introduction of a voice menu for emergency services, this refers only to scheduled consultations.

  • To lift some restrictions on unmanned cars.

There must be a person in the driver’s seat during the experimental use of unmanned cars on roads and use of unmanned special equipment on closed territories of production and agricultural enterprises.

Also, the Council recommended the Ministry of Transport to prepare offers to regular unmanned delivery devices (robot couriers). This is done to define their use, requirements for technical equipment, certification and so on.

At the same time, the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Economic Development are recommended to think about the regulation of unmanned air transport, including for taking a photo and making a video.

  • To prepare legislation for the appearance of stores without salespeople based on AI.

The decision stresses that it is necessary to create the legal basis for unmanned stores considering the protection of consumers’ rights as a priority. The Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Economic Development are also recommended to create requirements for automated commerce, space planning, equipment, storage and sale of goods.

  • To introduce artificial intelligence in e-education services.

At the same time, offline education remains a priority, only the improvement of offline education technologies is meant, which will be used locally or in situations when offline classes are impossible for some reasons.

  • To support AI researchers from the Russian Science Foundation.

It is considered that the support for AI researchers will also be provided by the Russian Science Foundation.

Eleonora Rylova. Photo: tatarstan.ru

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