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Engineered for Ethics: Meet David Bain - IREX' Ethics and Compliance Officer

IREX' Ethics and Compliance Officer David Bain (Washington, D.C.) speaks on the Ethics implementation in AI and Smart City technologies.

For every IREX engagement, the highest priority is optimizing safety and life-enhancing technology within the privacy and ethical norms of free societies. This starts at the level of the architecture of the system. Ethics are engineered into the system constraints and safeguards affecting what data are created, how and by whom data are accessed, stored and shared. This is a complex challenge that IREX invests in getting right. Why? because the ability to prove compliance with foundational privacy laws and rapidly evolving ethical AI standards is of monumental importance to any large scale user of AI, be they a public or private organization.

IREX itself absolutely observes --and enables its partners and licensees to work in full compliance with-- the foundational privacy laws of the world: GDPR, CCPA, CIPA, FERPA, COPPA, HIPAA. We eagerly anticipate developing legislative initiatives around AI ethics in Europe and the USA. I consider IREX to be very much ahead of the curve in this respect, working proactively to identify and mitigate risks to privacy. IREX achieves this with system design and innovation, enabling differentiators proudly considered extensions of the IREX ethics-first culture.

Rather than ignore the challenge or try to solve it all on its own, IREX participates in the Technology Integrity Council workgroup on this issue supporting a transparent process, open to all stakeholders including users and the public, for determining, maintaining, and updating the standards and third-party verification mechanisms for ethical compliance.

Municipalities, transit, and border authorities, as well as operators of private facilities like hotels and resorts, are all stuck between a rock and a hard place. They desperately want the safety and deterrence possible through real-time and proactive video analytics, but they do not want to fall down the slippery slope into a North Korean police state or anything that could be criticized for trampling on the individual rights and freedoms of citizens.

To acknowledge this elephant in the room, companies in the video analytics/face recognition space have largely gone in two directions with respect to this issue: Some, notably those with larger, more generalized tech offerings, have exited this space altogether, opting to avoid costly controversy. Others have simply ignored concerns for freedoms and safeguards, not addressing the issue or addressing it only with semantics and talking points.

IREX stands in stark contrast to others in this regard. As the #1, first-place winner of NIST competition for the effectiveness of this class of technology, IREX is not stepping away or ignoring the issue. IREX treats the issue as a challenge to solve and an opportunity to build a second pillar (besides system performance) with which IREX, with its partners, and licensees can deliver superior value.