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Ethical and Responsible AI
To promote the healthy development of the new AI generation, SenseTime has established the Committee of AI Ethics and Governance, and published the Code of Ethics for AI Sustainable Development.
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University-Enterprise Cooperation for AI Ethics Research - SenseTime and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Jointly Found the Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research

Zeroth Law:

A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

First Law:

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law:

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Third Law:

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

As early as 1942, Isaac Asimov, a famous science fiction author, had introduced the famous "Three Laws of Robotics" in his work Runaround. The development of science and technology in the future may disrupt society at any time. Facing this uncertainty, mankind has been actively exploring the intersection of technology and human nature, trying to understand the relationship between society and technology, inquiring about the core values of the community of the shared future for mankind, and conducting in-depth discussion over roboethics and AI ethics.

In recent years, artificial intelligence technology has been extensively applied in various social sectors. What come along are the ethical challenges and risks brought by this new technology.  The National Science and Technology Ethics Committee, established in October of last year, aims to promote the construction of a comprehensive, well-directed, structured and strategically-coordinated governance system for tech ethics. As an emerging and complex technology, artificial intelligence cannot be interpreted with traditional research experience and paradigms. Instead, it requires discussion by experts from different disciplines and fields, together with practical experience and academic debate.


On the morning of March 26, the "Inauguration Ceremony of the Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Commemorative Seminar on the Values and Law of Artificial Intelligence", co-organized by SenseTime and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was held at the North Building No.4, Xuhui Campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Zhang Shaoting, Deputy Head of Research at SenseTime, Gu Feng, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Lü Baoliang, Executive Dean of Qing Yuan Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Ji Weidong, Senior Professor of Liberal Arts and Dean of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, attended and delivered speeches at the inauguration ceremony. Dean Tian Feng and Director Liu Zhiyi of SenseTime Intelligent Industry Research Institute, Ge Yu, Executive Director of SenseTime University Cooperation, Deputy Dean and Professor Cheng Jinhua and Professor Peng Chengxin of the Koguan School of Law, Wang Yingchun, Director of the Science and Social Research Office of Shanghai Institute for Science of Science, Professor Yang Li, Deputy Dean of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies, and many experts and scholars also attended the ceremony.

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Inauguration Ceremony

The inauguration ceremony was chaired by Wang Houji, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Koguan School of Law of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Based on the cooperation between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and SenseTime, the Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research was jointly established by the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies and the Qing Yuan Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, pioneering the "university-enterprise cooperation" model in the field of AI ethics research.

Gu Feng, the university leader of liberal arts, extended congratulations to the successful founding of the Center on behalf of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Dr. Gu introduced the missions of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies and the Qing Yuan Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University as well as the purpose behind the co-founding of the Center. He added that the Center will play a major role in the intelligent development of complex systems, the computerization of legal reasoning, resolving the ethical dilemmas in data and algorithms, and the development of the digital economy and the rule of law, and will also blaze a new path for the research and education of the University's law disciplines and for the integration of arts and sciences.

Lü Baoliang delivered a speech on behalf of the Qing Yuan Research Institute. He expressed that the Qing Yuan Research Institute aims to promote interdisciplinary research and the cultivation of top talents in the field of artificial intelligence, with its focus on fundamental theory innovation and key technology research and development, as well as the improvement of AI capabilities and industrial development. With the cooperation of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies, the Center will make outstanding contributions to the application of AI technology in the field of law and the rapid technological innovation in emerging computing systems.

Ji Weidong delivered a speech on behalf of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies. He expressed that as a university-level interdisciplinary platform, the Institute has always been active in the academic frontiers of China and the world, with computational law, tech ethics, and the interactive relationship between individual behaviors and code frameworks in cyberspace as its research focuses. He hoped that with the strong support of SenseTime and cooperation with the Qing Yuan Research Institute, a high-level platform for industry-education-research cooperation can be built to promote the innovation of the legal knowledge system and facilitate the mutual promotion and development of social science and computer science.

Zhang Shaoting delivered a speech on behalf of SenseTime. He expressed that SenseTime will provide strong support as a co-founder of this Center and sincerely hoped that the Center will achieve the expected goals and form a working mechanism that integrates production, education and research. It can grow into a country-leading and internationally renowned academic center and high-end think tank in the research and development of emerging computer systems, the construction of an intelligent ecosystem, rulemaking for digital economy, and AI legislation.

Executive Dean Lü Baoliang and Dean Ji Weidong signed the Agreement on Sustainable Cooperation on behalf of their respective side. Zhang Shaoting, Lü Baoliang, Gu Feng, Wang Houji, Ji Weidong, and Wang Yingchun unveiled the plaque of the Center.


At the seminar following the inauguration ceremony, Wang Yingchun, Director of the Science and Social Research Office of Shanghai Institute for Science of Science, delivered a keynote speech entitled "Technological Society 3.0 and the Transformation of Governance Paradigms from the Perspective of Artificial Intelligence", which analyzed the trend of AI global governance and proposed a development concept based on the core competitiveness of "technology + rules". Tian Feng, Dean of SenseTime Intelligent Industry Research Institute and Co-Director of the Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research, shared his views on the societal challenges of “AI responsibilities and rights”, proposed the "AI ethics triangle", and offered insights on topics such as the social responsibilities of AI companies. Yang Li, Deputy Dean of the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tenured Professor at the Koguan School of Law and Director of the Center for Legal Big Data Analysis, discussed the basic forms of digital transformation and digital rule of law, and pointed out implementation challenges in the context of digital transformation, and proposed the data governance development principle of "two-wheel drive"- technology and law.

In the second half of the seminar, dozens of scholars and experts from SenseTime Intelligent Industry Research Institute, the Koguan School of Law, and the China Institute for Social-Legal Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, joined the panel discussion over topics including smart justice, big data governance, and the legal attributes of data, and debated on the role and influence of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data in the governance of ethical risks.


University-Enterprise Cooperation - A New Paradigm in Science and Technology Ethics Research


Since 2019, the Ministry of Science and Technology has vigorously promoted the development of industry-education-research collaborative innovation with enterprises as the main body, as stated in documents such as “the Overall Plan on Promoting the Construction of the National Technology Innovation Center" and “the Notice on Accelerating the Construction and Development of the National Demonstration Zone for Scientific and Technological Achievements Transfer and Commercialization”. Promoting this collaborative innovation system not only improves the commercialization and industrialization of scientific and technological achievements, but also plays a reciprocating role to help the academic community come in contact with frontier industrial challenges and consider the complex and real social environment in research. This is especially true of AI ethics research. On the one hand, as a disruptive technology, artificial intelligence is still at the initial stage of exploration, thus traditional tech supervision practices may not apply to many emerging applications of AI; and in order to consider the impact of its future large-scale social applications, forward-looking predictions and governance must be made from the multiple perspectives of philosophy, law, computer science, sociology, and business. On the other hand, ethics research focuses on the laws of morality, and AI ethics needs to be specifically practiced under certain social environment, cultural context, and legal basis where the application is made. Therefore, through the university-enterprise cooperation model, besides theoretical construction, we can observe the social impact of technology under real-world application scenarios, draw insights and feedback from the bottom-up, and improve the new paradigm of AI ethical governance.


The China Institute for Social-Legal Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University has abundant academic resources and strong interdisciplinary research teams, with profound achievements in the fields of risk society and complex system theory, comparative institutional analysis of big data governance and artificial intelligence governance, and smart justice. While the Qing Yuan Research Institute, based on the strong technical advantages  and rich industry experience of SenseTime, focuses on AI development and industrial research with the aim to explore new scientific and technological paradigms based on the concept of sustainable development. The Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research, jointly established by these two institutes, will integrate theoretical research and practical experience and blaze new trails in the frontier field of AI governance, delivering significant influence and academic value to international academia and the AI industry. 


In the future, the Center will focus on collaborative research on AI ethics, digital urban and social governance, computational law, cognitive science and legal behavior, smart justice and other related fields, including but not limited to research into the principles, regulations, policies, and technical specifications related to big data and artificial intelligence, and cognitive science and legal behavior experiments, construct knowledge graphs on related issues, submit research reports, undertake government projects, and publish papers and monographs. The Center, with the support of Shanghai National New-Generation AI Innovation & Development Pilot Zone, hopes to further build an ethics and governance research highland for big data and AI, play the role of a think tank, and work together with big data and AI enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta region to build a knowledge graph of smart cities and smart justice and a regulation system for AIoT network governance. The Center will also cooperate with the Faculty of Science and Technology of Shanghai Jiao Tong University to carry out teaching programs in law and social science that integrate liberal arts and science, and cultivate comprehensive talents in artificial intelligence, big data governance, science and technology, legal and other related fields.


AI Ethics Research Needs the Help of An Ecosystem.


SenseTime, as the corporate sponsor of the Center and an AI company, is aware of the uncertainties and risks that may be brought about by technological development while promoting its scientific and technological achievements. For many years, SenseTime has been dedicated to the field of AI ethics. In addition to its cooperation with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in co-founding this Center, SenseTime, as a representative of computer vision enterprises, was selected as a member of the First National Standardization Organization for Artificial Intelligence and participated in AI risk management and the formulation of governance standards. SenseTime is also a leader unit under the National Working Group of Facial Recognition. The preparation of the Technical Requirements for Information Technology, Biometric Recognition and Facial Recognition Systems, with SenseTime as the chief editor, has been formally approved as a project. [KQ1] 


At the First "AI Sustainable Development 2030 Forum" held in June of last year, SenseTime Intelligent Industry Research Institute released the whitepaper "Code of Ethics for AI Sustainable Development” in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Whitepaper proposed the concept of AI sustainable development with “respect for consultation and an inclusive culture” as its core, and the four AI development concepts of people-oriented, benefits for the people, integrated development and innovation through scientific research, which further falls into the four development principles of ethics, benefiting the people, industrial integration, and credibility. These concepts also align with SenseTime's core corporate vision of "AI for a better tomorrow" and are reflected in its business layout in "AI healthcare", "AI education", "AI smart city" and other aspects. 


Regarding ideas on the construction of an ethical research ecosystem, Tian Feng, Dean of SenseTime Intelligent Industry Research Institute and keynote speaker at the Ceremony, once proposed an original pyramid theory. The theory is guided by the vision of "sustainable AI" and illustrates more specific principles which serves as a strategic business guide for the company, facilitate the contribution to sustainable development research externally, and conduct risk and safety management internally. At the practical level, it is reflected in the organizational structure of the company's internal Committee of AI Ethics and its Data Security Department, as well as its participation in AI security-related whitepapers, and the offering of suggestions and comments for national and industry standards.


The “pyramid theory” used by SenseTime for ethics research

The co-founding of the Center for Computational Law and AI Ethics Research with Shanghai Jiao Tong University also follows the primary concept of SenseTime’s ethical ecosystem construction. Through cooperation with universities, we can gather rich academic resources, and, through the in-depth integration of industrial experience, deepen AI-related ethical research, thereby promoting the innovation of the smart technology governance model, carrying forward the core development concept of "sustainable AI", and ultimately creating positive social benefits and benefiting the general public.

AI Companies Fulfill Their Social Responsibilities

Corporate social responsibility doesn’t simply mean showcasing achievements to the public. If we want to make substantial contributions to society, only by embedding "goodness" in the company's development concept, can we make an  impact from top-down, which can then be reflected in actual measures. At the same time, as industry leaders, we must take the lead and act as role models. With regard to the governance issues of emerging technologies, industrial giants should lead application and have a deeper understanding of the risks involved in these technologies. Therefore, we should actively mobilize the industry as a whole, and form industry self-regulation when the legal framework is still in the initial stage, and at the same time, provide valuable insights for academics and supervision through policy proposal, research collaboration and other measures.


The cooperation over this Center with Shanghai Jiao Tong University is another practice of SenseTime’s ethics research and ecosystem construction concept. In the future, we hope that more companies from the AI industry will carry out the "university-enterprise cooperation" model, constantly gain experience from cutting-edge applications, utilize interdisciplinary knowledge to build and refine the theoretical framework, and continuously improve AI Governance, an inevitable social issue. 

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