OECD AI Principles overview

The OECD AI Principles promote use of AI that is innovative and trustworthy and that respects human rights and democratic values. Adopted in May 2019, they set standards for AI that are practical and flexible enough to stand the test of time.

Values-based principles

Recommendations for policy makers

The OECD AI Principles focus on how governments and other actors can shape a human-centric approach to trustworthy AI. As an OECD legal instrument, the principles represent a common aspiration for its adhering countries.

Governments that have committed to the AI Principles
Map of governments that have committed to the AI Principles

AI terms & concepts

An AI system is a machine-based system that is capable of influencing the environment by producing an output (predictions, recommendations or decisions) for a given set of objectives. It uses machine and/or human-based data and inputs to (i) perceive real and/or virtual environments; (ii) abstract these perceptions into models through analysis in an automated manner (e.g., with machine learning), or manually; and (iii) use model inference to formulate options for outcomes. AI systems are designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy.

The OECD’s work on Artificial Intelligence and rationale for developing the OECD Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence

AI is a general-purpose technology that has the potential to improve the welfare and well-being of people, to contribute to positive sustainable global economic activity, to increase innovation and productivity, and to help respond to key global challenges. It is deployed in many sectors ranging from production, finance and transport to healthcare and security.

Alongside benefits, AI also raises challenges for our societies and economies, notably regarding economic shifts and inequalities, competition, transitions in the labour market, and implications for democracy and human rights.

The OECD has undertaken empirical and policy activities on AI in support of the policy debate over the past two years, starting with a Technology Foresight Forum on AI in 2016 and an international conference on AI: Intelligent Machines, Smart Policies in 2017. The Organisation also conducted analytical and measurement work that provides an overview of the AI technical landscape, maps economic and social impacts of AI technologies and their applications, identifies major policy considerations, and describes AI initiatives from governments and other stakeholders at national and international levels.

This work has demonstrated the need to shape a stable policy environment at the international level to foster trust in and adoption of AI in society. Against this background, the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) agreed to develop a draft Council Recommendation to promote a human-centric approach to trustworthy AI, that fosters research, preserves economic incentives to innovate, and applies to all stakeholders.

An inclusive and participatory process for developing the Recommendation

The development of the Recommendation was participatory in nature, incorporating input from a broad range of sources throughout the process. In May 2018, the CDEP agreed to form an expert group to scope principles to foster trust in and adoption of AI, with a view to developing a draft Council Recommendation in the course of 2019. The AI Group of experts at the OECD (AIGO) was subsequently established, comprising over 50 experts from different disciplines and different sectors (government, industry, civil society, trade unions, the technical community and academia) - see the full list.

Between September 2018 and February 2019 the group held four meetings: in Paris, France, in September and November 2018, in Cambridge, MA, United States, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in January 2019, back to back with the MIT AI Policy Congress, and finally in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at the World Government Summit in February 2019. The work benefited from the diligence, engagement and substantive contributions of the experts participating in AIGO, as well as from their multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary backgrounds. Drawing on the final output document of the AIGO, a draft Recommendation was developed in the CDEP and with the consultation of other relevant OECD bodies. The CDEP approved a final draft Recommendation and agreed to transmit it to the OECD Council for adoption in a special meeting on 14-15 March 2019. The OECD Council adopted the Recommendation at its meeting at Ministerial level on 22-23 May 2019.

Mentioned resources