The 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)……

Please use the form below to submit.

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 – for our lack of language skills, or simply because they have not been announced widely. 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 so far, 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: 17 April 2019)

Many thanks to the contributors: Jared Adams, Benjamin Walczak & Yong Liu


Accenture: Universal Principles of Data Ethics
Release date: 2016

ADEL: Algorithm Data Ethics Label

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 (AI4Poeple): AI4People’s Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations
Release date: 2018

Bertelsmann Stiftung & iRights.lab: AlgoRules
Release date: 7 March 2019
Further link: Project website (English)

Bitkom: Empfehlungen für den verantwortlichen Einsatz von KI und automatisierten Entscheidungen Corporate Digital Responsibility and Decision Making
Release date: 5 February 2018

Bitkom: 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

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

CIGREF: 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

DataforGood: Serment d’Hippocrate pour Data Scientist
(Hippocratic Oath for Data Scientist)

DatenschutzkonferenzHambacher 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: KI Richtlinien Deutsche Telekom (AI Guidelines)
Release date: 24 April 2018

Dubai: Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Principles
Release date: January 20

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

European Commission: Code of Practice on Disinformation
Release date: September 2018

FAT/ML: 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

Google: Advanced Technology External Advisory Council for Google (ATEAC)
Release and end date: March 2019 (suspended)

Google: Objectives for AI Applications
Release date: 7 Juni 2018

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

Handelsblatt Research Institut: 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

IBM: Everyday Ethics for Artificial Intelligence
Further link: FactSheets: Increasing Trust in AI Services through Supplier’s Declarations of Conformity (PDF)

IBM: Trusted AI

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

IEEE: Ethically Aligned Design – 1st Edition
Release date: 25 March 2019

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

Holberton Turing Oath
Release date: 2018

Microsoft: Facial Recognition Principles
Release date: December 2018

Microsoft: Our Approach to AI

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

Microsoft: The Future Computed – Artificial intelligence and its role in society
Release date: 2018
Further link: Executive Summary (PDF)

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

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

SAP: SAP’s guiding principles for Artificial Intelligence
Release date: September 2018

Telefonica: Principos (Principles)
Release date: 30 October 20183
Further link: Press release 

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 House of Lords: UK House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee’s report, AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?
Release date: June 2018

Unesco: Unesco Global Code of Ethics


Université de Montréal: Montreal Declaration for Responsible AI

Utrecht University: Data Ethics Decision Aid (DEDA)

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

Verivox: Verivox/Pro7 Selbstverpflichtung (Self-commitment)
Further link: Richtlinien der Verivox-Vergleichsrechner für Bankprodukte


What relevant guidelines are missing?


Published: April 9, 2019