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The last decade has seen unprecedented technological advancement, yet grave challenges threaten our global societies. In climate, health and the cost of living, crises are driven by and fuel inequality. Those living in island nations vulnerable to climate change fear the imminent loss of their homes, while the COVID-19 pandemic revealed and exacerbated structural inequities in social, economic, and public health systems. It has never been clearer that we share an urgent responsibility to ensure that scientific and technological advances serve the many, and not just the few.
How should the public and private sectors work together to ensure that historical exclusion does not continue into the present? Pausing technological development and deployment until all concerns are addressed is not feasible—no society has survived without progress. In moving forward, it is critical to ensure that processes and institutions exist to champion and implement efforts toward achieving equitable outcomes.
To that end, we convened two diverse groups of experts in late 2022 to discuss how they might advise building and distributing artificial intelligence for equitable outcomes. In advance of these virtual roundtables, we provided some suggested readings, which are listed at the end of this report, along with a few definitions to start the conversation. This report represents a summary of the discussions.
Many of the ideas explored are not new, nor do the participants offer silver bullets to ongoing challenges. But there is value in exploring them together to build the muscle and future institutions required for civil discourse on the role technology plays in our lives. We hope this report inspires greater curiosity among technologists and the communities they serve, and spurs and shapes the development of markets, norms, and policies toward achieving greater equity.