Arthur’s Legal, Strategies & Systems
#AI, #HumanCentric, #ResponsibleInnovation, #BlueEconomy, #Accountability, #Impact
Digital & Green Twin Transition Capabilities for the Blue Economy
The Blue Economy is defined by the World Bank as “the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health”. The ‘green transition’ is one of the key goals of both the European Commission and the United Nations (UN). The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN reflects the need to improve the lives of people and protect the planet from degradation, to ensure that the needs of present and future generations are supported.
The concept of the Blue Economy encompasses various activities, from renewable energy, tourism, and waste management, among others. Digital tools and ecosystems can be of paramount importance in furthering the conservation and regeneration of oceans, and the generation of economic activity in the sector. AI holds great promise by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data now being generated on sentiment behaviour, human health, commerce, communications, migration and more. However, there are many elements to consider when developing solutions based on digital technologies.
Resilient and Interconnected Digital Ecosystems
Digital has become a must-have, for people, society, and the economy. Digital platforms, AI, robotics, edge computing, and the internet of things (IoT) are further expediting this process by connecting, inter-connecting respectively hyper-connecting individuals, organizations, communities, societies, and data, with tens of billions of objects and entities.
All these technical capabilities and related digital ecosystems generally comprise of a technical stack. These are made up of some combination of the various forms of data together with software-enabled algorithms that have sufficient computing power either centralized, decentralized, or distributed on the Edge or in IoT devices and interfaces, connectivity, and infrastructure where necessary.
Studies show that adding AI to a technology or process could strengthen its capacity to reach the envisioned outcome, yet it will just as well amplify the risk for negative impact. Digital technologies and intelligent networks are not immune to error, evil, incidents or other risk. These are also not immune to incidental, incremental or disruptive change, either caused by internal or external factors. The many ‘What-If’ scenarios are generally not considered sufficiently, and not re-run after in a consistent and continuous manner.
Making it work, implies having both the functionals as well as non-functionals included, by design and by default, and taken into consideration – and addressing those – end-to-end; both upstream, midstream, and downstream, in the holistic, system-thinking – and system-doing – spirit and approach.
Although new and seemingly burdensome for some, it will for sure be beneficial in order to truly make it work, with AI in the equation. Before one notices, it will become second nature. The ‘it’, in ‘make it work’ is not AI or other technological functionalities or capabilities; it is a valued use case that addresses Societal Challenges of any kind.
Trust By Design
A multi-stakeholder-centric approach should also be taken when considering and implementing any capabilities of this Digital Age in the domain of the Blue Economy, particularly in the processing of digital data. Digital ecosystems comprise of applications and services which require some form of authentication of participants in order to establish trust. The notion of trust becomes increasingly important when it involves the personal data of individuals interacting with digital ecosystems.
In order to prevent the processing of more data than necessary and to that the various tools in a digital ecosystem are trustworthy yet privacy-preserving, attribute-based credentials should be employed. This form of attributed-based trust allows individuals to hand over the minimum information required by the application, without revealing their full identity. Such forms of attributed-based credentials foster the trustworthiness of an information society while preserving individuals’ privacy.
Risk in Cyber-Physical and other Digital Ecosystems
When thinking and talking about risk, it is important not to see risk as something necessarily negative.
It is an integral part of the equation and with that an enabler and facilitator of anything that works in a trusted, trustworthy and accountable way. It gives essential and valuable insights into what may happen or may go wrong, what people or society like or fear, et cetera. For sure, in the AI or AI-supported domain that is an essential success factor.
The magnitude of risks, determined by the probability as well as the impact thereof, is very much context and application-dependent. To prepare for and mitigate the potential harm, to embed preparedness for foreseen and unforeseen situations, and to make it resilient and future-proof, it is necessary that AI systems are designed and deployed guided by trust principles. These non-functionals are principles that consistently preserve trust, trustworthiness, and engagement of all relevant stakeholders. Examples of such principles are security, safety, privacy, transparency, auditability, sustainability, and robustness. There are several hundred trust principles. These can be found in best practices, guidelines, white papers, standards, regulations but also in common practice and nature.
Futureproofing Digital Transitions
If we are able to create, build, nurture and cater for such interdisciplinary human-centric, transparent and trustworthy digital means, as an aid for the Blue Economy – including but not limited to privacy, security, safety and accountability –, we have a global market of almost 8 billion individuals that we can help to improve their quality of life, and in turn protect the planet from degradation.
If we as interdisciplinary team players achieve the appropriate level of trust and trustworthiness – the level where things really start to make sense –, it will not only help on the individual and local level, but can provide positive benefits for the environment as a whole. It’s truly a team sport.