AI Ethics Guidelines Global Inventory

AlgorithmWatch's inventory of principles, voluntary commitments and frameworks for an ethical use of algorithms and AI (work in progress)…


9 April 2019

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The way automated decision-making (ADM) systems should be regulated is hotly disputed. Recent months have seen a flurry of frameworks and principles that seek to set out principles of how ADM systems can be developed and implemented ethically. There are governmental initiatives (such as the report by the House of Lords in the UK) and supra-national efforts (such as the EU commission’s High Level Expert Group – see our comments on the draft here and a report on the final version here). The private and civil sectors have also not been idle.

With our AlgorithmWatch AI Ethics Guidelines Global Inventory, we started to map the landscape of these frameworks. They vary in content and detail, but we found a few common traits:

  • All include the similar principles on transparency, equality/non-discrimination, accountability and safety. Some add additional principles, such as the demand for AI be socially beneficial and protect human rights.
  • Most frameworks are developed by coalitions, or institutions such as universities that then invite companies and individuals to sign up to these.
  • Only a few companies have developed their own frameworks.
  • Almost all examples are voluntary commitments. There are only three or four examples that indicate an oversight or enforcement mechanism.
  • Apart from around 10 documents, all were published in 2018 or 2019 (some did not have a date).
  • Overwhelmingly, the declarations take the form of statements, e.g. “we will ensure our data sets are not biased”. Few include recommendations or examples of how to operationalise the principles.

Our overview is certainly not complete; it is supposed to be a starting point. We assume there exist many more such guidelines that we are not aware of – due to our lack of language skills, or simply because they have not been widely announced. This is why we invite all of you to submit further examples we have missed. Please use the form below.

We cannot offer a comprehensive analysis of the guidelines. It is doubtful anyone will ever be able to do so, given that documents like the IEEE’s Ethically Aligned Design are 290 pages long, or that the comments made in the consultation for the EU HLEG on AI’s Ethics Guidelines run up to 650 pages.

We can still draw some conclusions from what we have found so far:

The absence of internal enforcement or governance mechanism shows that, there is a lot of virtue signalling going on and few efforts of enforcement. When entities – private companies and public administration alike – vow to adhere to ethics guidelines, this is not meaningless. Others can then try to hold them to account, be it the companies’ own employees, outside institutions like advocacy organisations, or academics. Still, when companies and other organisations commit to ethics guidelines and do not institute any kind of governance mechanism, it is certainly justified to assume they are mere window-dressing. The burden of proof that the entities are willing to follow these rules is clearly on them.


This is a work in progress and the list is a preliminary format. We will convert it into a proper database as we go. (Last update: 21 June 2019)

Many thanks to the contributors: Jared Adams, Benjamin Walczak, Yong Liu, Michael Puntschuh, Freyja Van den Boom, Riikka Kolou, Dongwoo Kim, David Leslie, John Havens & RRI Tools

Universal Principles of Data Ethics

Release date: 2016

Algorithm Data Ethics Label

AI Now Institute
AI Now Report 2018 (PDF)
Realease date: December 2018

Amnesty International & Access Now:
The Toronto Declaration: Protecting the right to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems

Realease date: 16 May 2018

Association for Computing Machinery:
Statement on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability

Release date: 17 Jan  2017
Further link: ACM Code of Ethics Enforcement Policy

Atomium - EISMD (AI4People):
AI4People's Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations

Release date: 2018

Bejing Academy of Artificial Intelligence
Bejing AI Principles
Release date: 28 May 2019

Bertelsmann Stiftung & iRights.lab:

Release date: 7 March 2019
Further link: Project website (English)

Empfehlungen für den verantwortlichen Einsatz von KI und automatisierten Entscheidungen Corporate Digital Responsibility and Decision Making

Release date: 5 February 2018

Leitlinien für Big Data Einsatz
 (Guidelines for Big Data Use)
Release date: 15 September 2015

Bundesverband KI:
KI Gütesiegel
 (AI Seal of Quality)
Release date: 22 March 2019

Center for Democracy & technology (CDT):
Digital Decisions

Further link: Tool

Chinese AI Alliance
Joint Pledge on Artificial Intelligence Industry Self-Discipline (Draft for Comment)
Release date: 17 June 2019
Further link (Chinese)

Chinese Government
Governance Principles for a New Generation of Artificial Intelligence: Develop Responsible Artificial Intelligence
Release date: 17 June 2019
Further link (Chinese)

CIGI Gentre for International Governance Innovation: Toward a G20 Framework for Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace (CIGI Paper No. 178)
Release date: 19 July 2018

Digital Ethics

Release date: October 2018

Critical Engineering Working Group:
Critical Engineering Working Manifesto

Release date: October 2011

Data Ethics:
Data Ethics Principles

Release date: 9 December 2017

Serment d'Hippocrate pour Data Scientist
(Hippocratic Oath for Data Scientist)

Hambacher Erklärung zur Künstlichen Intelligenz - Sieben datenschutzrechtliche Anforderungen
(Conference of the Independent Federal and State Data Protection Supervisory Authorities Germany: Hambach Declaration on Artificial Intelligence - Seven data protection obligations)
Release date: 3 April 2019

Deutsche Telekom: Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence
Release date: 24 April 2018

Dubai: Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Principles and Toolkit for Self-assessment
Release date: January 2019

Ekspertgruppen om DATAETIK (Danish Expert Group on Data Ethics):
Data for the Benefit of the People (PDF)
Release date: November 2018

Engineering and Physical Research Council:
Principles of Robotics
Release date: 1 September 2010

Ethkikkommission des Bundesministeriums für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur BMVI (Ethics committee of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure)
Automatisiertes und Vernetztes Fahren 
(Automated and connected automated driving)
Release date: 2017

European Commission:
Code of Practice on Disinformation

Release date: September 2018

European Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ):
European ethical Charter on the use of Artificial Intelligence in judicial systems and their environment (PDF)
Release date: 4 December 2018

European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
Statement on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and 'Autonomous' Systems (PDF)
Release date: 2018

Principles for Accountable Algorithms and a Social Impact Statement for Algorithms

Future of Life Institute:
Asilomar AI Principles

Release date: 2017

Gesellschaft für Informatik:
Ethische Leitlinien
 (Ethical Guidelines)
Release date: 29 June 2018

The Good Technology Collective:
The Good Technology Standard (GTS:2019-Draft-1)

Release date: December 2018

Google AI:
Responsible AI Practices

Advanced Technology External Advisory Council for Google (ATEAC)

Release and end date: March 2019 (suspended)

Objectives for AI Applications

Release date: 7 Juni 2018

Google | People + AI Research (PAIR):
People + AI Guidebook

Government of Canada: Directive on Automated Decision-Making
Date modified: 5 February 2019

Handelsblatt Research Institute:
Datenschutz und Big Data 
(Data Protection/Privacy and Big Data)
Release date: 2015

High Level Expert Group on AI:
Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI

Release date: 8 April 2019

Hochschule der Medien:
10 ethische Leitlinien für die Digitalisierung von Unternehmen
(10 ethical guidelines for the digitisation of enterprises)
Release date: 2017

IA Latam:
Declaración de Ética para desarrollo y uso de la Inteligencia Artificial
(Declaration of Ethics for the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence)
Release date: February 2019

Everyday Ethics for Artificial Intelligence

Further link: FactSheets: Increasing Trust in AI Services through Supplier’s Declarations of Conformity (PDF)

Holberton Turing Oath
Release date: 2018

Trusted AI

IBM's Principles for Trust and Transparency

Release date: 30 May 2018
Further link: IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency - Short (PDF)

Ethically Aligned Design - 1st Edition

Release date: 25 March 2019

Ethics in Action - Set the Global Standards

Information Technolgy Industry Council:
AI policies and principles

Release date: 24 October 2017

Institute for Business Ethics:
Business Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

Release date: January 2018

International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners ICDPPC:
Declaration on Ethics and Data Protection in Artifical Intelligence

Release date: 23 October 2018

Japanese Society for AI:
The Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence Ethical Guidelines

Release date: May 2017

Kakako Corp
Kakao Algorithm Ethics

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data

Release date: 27 February 2014

Facial Recognition Principles

Release date: December 2018

Our Approach to AI

Microsoft: Responsible bots: 10 guidelines for developers of conversational AI
Release date: 4 November 2018

The Future Computed - Artificial intelligence and its role in society

Release date: 2018
Further link: Executive Summary (PDF)

Monetary Authority of Singapore:
Principles to Promote Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency (FEAT) in the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics in Singapore’sFinancial Sector (PDF)
Release date: 12 November 2018

Mozilla Foundation:
Effective Ad Archives

Release date: 28 March 2019

National Research Council Canada:
Advisory Statement on Human Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Research (2017)

Date modified: 26 March 2019

New York Times:
Seeking Ground Rules for A.I.
Release date: March 2019

OECD Legal Instruments:
Recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence
Release date: 22 May 2019

Open AI:
Open AI Charter

Release date: 9 April 2018

Partnership On AI (Apple, Amazon, Google, MS, etc):
Tenets Partnership on AI

Personal Data Commission Singapore: A Proposed Model Artificial Intelligence Governance Framework
Release date: January 2019

Pervade at University of Maryland:
Pervasive Data Ethics

The Ethics of Code: Developing AI for Business with Five Core Principles
Release date: 2017

SAP's guiding principles for Artificial Intelligence

Release date: September 2018

Release date: 30 October 2018
Further link: Press release

The Alan Turing Institute
Understanding artificial intelligence ethics and safety
Release date: 2019

The Public Voice:
Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence

Release date: 23 October 2018

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat:
Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Government of Canada (Digital Disruption White Paper Series)

Date modified: 10 April 2019

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat:
Responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI)

Date modified: 1 April 2019

UK Government:
A guide to using Artificial Intelligence in the public sector
Release date: 10 June 2019

UK House of Lords:
UK House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee’s report, AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?

Release date: June 2018

Global Code of Ethics

Report of COMEST on Robotics Ethics
Release date: 14 July 2014

UNI Global Union:

Université de Montréal:
Montreal Declaration for Responsible AI

University of Notre Dame
A Code of Ethics for the Human Robot Interaction (PDF)
Release date: 2014

Utrecht University:
Data Ethics Decision Aid (DEDA)

Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.:
Algorithmenbasierte Entscheidungsprozesse
(Algorithm-based decision-making processes)
Release date: 7 December 2017

Verivox/Pro7 Selbstverpflichtung
Further link: Richtlinien der Verivox-Vergleichsrechner für Bankprodukte

What relevant guidelines are missing?


If you have any further questions or suggestions, you are welcome to contact Veronika Thiel at

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