Axon creates AI-focused ethics board

Axon, manufacturer of the Taser police weapon, recently announced the creation of a AI Ethics Board to guide the development of Axon’s AI-powered devices and services.

The Board will meet twice a year to discuss ethical implications of AI-powered technologies being developed by Axon. The first discussions will revolve around a range of future capabilities Axon’s AI Research team is working on to help increase police efficiency and efficacy. Axon claims its ultimate goal in developing AI technology is to remove the need for police officers to do manual paperwork entirely.

“We believe the advancement of AI technology will empower police officers to connect with their communities versus being stuck in front of a computer screen doing data entry,” says Axon CEO and founder, Rick Smith. “We also believe AI research and technology for use in law enforcement must be done ethically and with the public in mind. This is why we’ve created the AI Ethics Board, to ensure any AI technology in public safety is developed responsibly.”

The Board will meet twice a year to discuss ethical implications of AI-powered technologies being developed by Axon and will be composed of experts from varying fields including AI, computer science, privacy, law enforcement, civil liberties, and public policy.

As a leading technology company for law enforcement, Axon states that it has an obligation to the public to develop its AI technologies with transparency and accountability. With more than 18,000 law enforcement customers in more than 100 countries, Axon has said that it is committed to ensuring customers’ data is protected while respecting individual rights and privacy.

“We take privacy very seriously and address privacy concerns of law enforcement officers and citizens before releasing a product,” says Axon’s Director of AI and Machine Learning, Moji Solgi. “We intend to be transparent with our customers and the general public about these principles and our efforts to adhere to them.”

To demonstrate its commitment to public transparency, Axon will publish one or two reports annually that describe the work of its Ethics Board. The first report will include the firm’s AI product development guidelines.

The reports and the list of Axon’s AI Ethics Board members will be made available online.

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