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June, 2024

Telstra joins Microsoft, Salesforce on UNESCO Business Council to champion ethical AI

Telstra has become the first Australian company to join the UNESCO Business Council, a collective created to promote the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The company is the sixth globally to join the council, which seeks to implement the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, which advocates for AI technologies to be governed by values that promote human rights, dignity, and environmental sustainability.

Telstra will work alongside UNESCO and other member organisations, including Microsoft and Salesforce, to support policy development in areas such as data governance and diversity. The Business Council will also work to develop an ethical impact assessment tool and joint initiatives to ensure AI serves the public good.

“AI is a transformative technology that has the potential to benefit societies globally, but it requires very careful and deliberate stewardship,” said group executive of Product & Technology at Telstra, Kim Krogh Andersen. “We’re proud to be the first Australian company to join the UNESCO Business Council and champion the increasingly critical cause of ethical and responsible AI. In such a fast-moving space, collaboration is a non-negotiable. We all need to lean on and learn from each other, to ensure AI is developed and deployed in a way that respects human rights, diversity and dignity.”

Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO, Gabriela Ramos, welcomed Telstra’s involvement. “We are pleased that Telstra has joined UNESCO in the implementation of the Recommendation. UNESCO is leading the international efforts to build ethical, responsible and inclusive AI frameworks worldwide, working with governments from 50 countries, G7, G20 and other international initiatives, and particularly with leading global companies. Having Telstra in our Business Council will foster our speed, depth and reach,” she said.

Telstra has a history of leadership in responsible AI, having worked with the Australian government to pilot and test Australia’s AI Ethics Principles, and co-authored the Responsible AI Playbook with the GSMA. The company operates a Responsible AI Policy across its business, combining policy, education, advisory and specific risk management controls.