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19


THE HUMAN TOUCH I


n the brave new world of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence (AI) is the next development on the horizon which presents huge opportunities for improving our lives, but also potential


threats to how we live our lives. As we read the latest headlines about


how the digital world is undermining our privacy and autonomy, we can be forgiven for wondering who is speaking up for the interests of consumers. Well, BSI for one. Consumer Policy Manager


Sadie Homer coordinates the input of consumer and public interest stakeholders into standards development, including BSI’s Consumer and Public Interest Network (CPIN). “Consumers are often under-represented and our specific job is to make sure that the consumer is protected in all outcomes,” said Sadie. “Standards play an important role in the consumer protection toolkit by creating good practice for organizations that provide goods and services. BSI standards are developed by all key stakeholders and it’s important they have a consumer voice to ensure they are robust and credible.” CPIN is a group of trained, independent


volunteers who represent UK consumers in the development of British Standards. It works closely with representatives from other UK consumer organizations and is supported by BSI, with additional funding from BEIS (see above right). As well as being part of


Sadie Homer


standards committees, CPIN representatives engage with other consumer and public interest organizations in the UK and around the world


“AI is developing so quickly that all the implications of its use in our daily lives are still not fully understood”


to voice wider concerns and help develop European and international standards. CPIN volunteers work from a set of principles to help them assess what a standard for a consumer product or service needs to address. These principles are; access, safety, information, choice, redress and sustainability. CPIN is currently applying these principles to the issue of artificial intelligence, the workings of which are outside of the knowledge of the average citizen. “AI is developing so quickly that all the implications of its use in our daily lives are still not fully understood,” said Sadie. “Wherever


AI is a feature in a product or service we want to make sure there is transparency, accountability, and that consumers are able to make an informed choice, have equal access to its benefits and are protected from unintended or malicious harm. “For example, emotions of consumers during interactions can be tracked and recognized by AI. It may be in our interests, but it equally could be manipulating us in ways we’re not aware of. It’s about protecting the autonomy of individuals.” However, despite possible doomsday scenarios, Sadie is optimistic that consumer interests can be protected through the use of good practice standards in AI. “Consumers are more likely to have confidence in businesses that work to British Standards and so are more likely to use their products and services. It’s a win-win situation for business and consumer - it builds consumer trust and increases trade.”


CONSUMER AND PUBLIC INTEREST NETWORK (CPIN) CLICK TO READ


Join CPIN and make


your voice heard If you or your organization would like to join our consumer network, please email consumer@bsigroup.com You can learn more about CPIN and its workat www.bsigroup.com/consumers


CONTENTS


CONTACT THE TEAM


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