Addressing ethics in autonomous and intelligent systems

25 July 2018 

New global community aims to foster cooperation in the development and use of ethical standards in ICT, in particular for autonomous and intelligent systems

Ethical issues around autonomous and intelligent systems are surfacing across a wide variety of industries and need to be addressed in an open and transparent manner.  BSI, the business standards company, today jointly launched and became a founding member of the Open Community for Ethics in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (OCEANIS). This global community brings together organizations interested in the development and use of standards as a means to address ethical matters in autonomous and intelligent systems. 

Standards can help reassure end users and can play an important role in alleviating concerns regarding ethics.  There is a real need and opportunity for broad collaboration between all relevant national and international organizations to develop locally and globally applicable solutions that support technical, business and policy decisions. 

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI commented: “Robotics and AI represent a huge global opportunity and one that will transform how organizations operate and how we live.  Industry recognizes that the risks associated with robotics and AI are no longer science fiction, and this is why we developed the first piece of practical guidance on the ethics of robotic technology, BS 8611.  

“As this technology evolves, it is essential that expertise from individuals and organizations within the robotic, AI, manufacturing and engineering industries is shared for debate with safety experts, scientists, academics, consumers and ethicists.  That way consensus can be reached on what good looks like when addressing the ethical hazards and ethical design implications of robotics and AI.” 

OCEANIS participants consent to:

  • Share information and coordinate on respective initiatives and programs

  • Enhance understanding of the role of standards in facilitating innovation, and address problems that extend beyond technical solutions to addressing ethics and values

  • Jointly organize events at local/regional/global level

  • Identify opportunities for concerted activities that strengthen the development and use of standards in addressing technical, societal and ethical implications arising from technology advancement.

The OCEANIS community is open to all interested organizations. In addition to BSI, founding members include:

  • Austrian Electrotechnical Association (OVE)
  • Austrian Standards International (A.S.I.)
  • British Standards Institution (BSI)
  • China Electronic Standardization Institute (CESI)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)
  • Servicio Ecuatoriano de Normalization (INEN)
  • Turkish Standards Institute (TSE)
  • Verband und Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik (VDE/DKE)

The OCEANIS community is open and not-for-profit. For more information on OCEANIS, visit the community’s web page. If your organization is interested in participating in OCEANIS, please email 


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