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Industry Submission to the Government of Canada’s Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things
Submitted by Scott Smith
CSI Manager at Honey Bee Manufacturing Ltd.
Frontier, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Internet of Farm Things
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! `I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. `I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
No comfortable historical reference captures the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on national security. AI is not a single technology breakthrough, like a bat-wing stealth bomber. The race for AI supremacy is not like the space race to the moon. AI is not even comparable to a general-purpose technology like electricity. However, what Thomas Edison said of electricity encapsulates the AI future: “It is a field of fields … it holds the secrets which will reorganize the life of the world.” Edison’s astounding assessment came from humility. All that he discovered was “very little in comparison with the possibilities that appear.” …
The AI competition is also a values competition. China’s domestic use of AI is a chilling precedent for anyone around the world who cherishes individual liberty. Its employment of AI as a tool of repression and surveillance—at home and, increasingly, abroad—is a powerful counterpoint to how we believe AI should be used. The AI future can be democratic, but we have learned enough about the power of technology to strengthen authoritarianism abroad and fuel extremism at home to know that we must not take for granted that future technology trends will reinforce rather than erode democracy. We must work with fellow democracies and the private sector to build privacy-protecting standards into AI technologies and advance democratic norms to guide AI uses so that democracies can responsibly use AI tools for national security purposes…
For the United States, as for other democratic countries, use of AI by officials must comport with principles of limited government and individual liberty. These principles do not uphold themselves. In a democratic society, any empowerment of the state must be accompanied by wise restraints to make that power legitimate in the eyes of its citizens. As this report argues, the promise of emerging AI technologies to enhance national security is real and significant. The ability of U.S. intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement agencies to develop and use them for national security purposes must be preserved. To do so, however, the government must ensure that their use is effective, legitimate, and lawful. Public trust will hinge on justified assurance about compliance with privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.
– US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
Table of Content
- The Art of Farming
- Context and Concepts
- The Intersection of Tech and Art
- Artificial vs. Real
- Farmer’s Ownership in Copyright
- Summary Conclusions
- The Agricultural Producers Charter of Ownership Rights and Freedoms
In agriculture, the Internet of Things becomes, the Internet of Farm Things [IoFT].
While similar at the conceptual level, IoFT adds new scale and focus.
This paper is written by participants in the agricultural equipment manufacturing industry in Canada. We attempt to address the perspectives of all stakeholders in the agricultural industry as a whole.
Many of our discussions would equally apply to forestry, mining, construction, energy and heavy industry generally.
Most importantly, this paper takes the position of placing the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens first. Specifically, those who participate in the Agricultural sector at all levels.
From the title page, it is clear that beyond all the beneficial uses of Ai, there will be applications that challenge the nature of society and citizens. It is with this in mind, that we focus on the rights and freedoms aspect of Ai and IoT. Whatever the promise of these technologies [and technology in general], there must be certainty around the rights and freedoms of those who are the stated benefactors of the technical solutions.
This is summarized at the end of this paper, in the form of a charter of rights and freedoms for Agricultural Producers. In this, we include all those who participate in the work of producing food, from input to output and all participants in- between. Our position in this process is the manufacturers of Agricultural equipment that is used by the farmer. Specifically, the so called “shortline” manufacturer, that provides some, but not all of the tools that farmers use. This is different from the “full-line” manufacturer, or OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] that also produces both the tools [implements] and the host equipment [engine powered machines] that the implements are mounted to, and powered by for performing work.
For the purposes of discussion, the OEM equipment [combines and tractors] and the products and services that are tied into them [digital and physical], form the platform that hosts the “applications” of implements that perform specific work. E.g., tillage, planting, and harvesting. These OEM platforms are much like Apple or Google, in that they are generally considered the host of other products in an ecosystem of technology and tools.
Historically, agriculture has worked within and OPEN ecosystem, where products from all brands had the possibility to interoperate and function as designed. This benefited the industry and spawned Agricultural related industry in most small towns globally. In Canada, there are roughly 1500 companies that participate in innovating and manufacturing Agricultural solutions that interoperate with OEM platform equipment. The majority of these companies are located in small rural Canadian towns.
Unfortunately, with the introduction of embedded software in equipment, and secondary data products, there has been a move away from OPEN and towards CLOSED ecosystems between brands. This is primarily at the hand of the larger equipment OEM. So, at a time that technology should be making its biggest impacts in our industry, we are instead facing walled garden business models that are creating an anti-competitive environment for our industry, at the expense of follow-on innovation.
It is in this context that we address the functional realities of the impact of technology on our industry and clearly state the need for regulation as we move forward into new technology roadmaps. Technology is desirable if the road accommodates all vehicles. If not, and roadblocks are encountered, innovation comes to a standstill. Technology is either a weapon or a tool. We support the later. A tool we can all use. To our collective benefit.
There is no question about this, novel or otherwise.
The Art of Farming
This document is in response to “A Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things” from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada July 2021.
In opening, I would like to address an issue with the approach on the subject matter. In their introduction, ISED states:
“Overall, rapid advances in technology are having a profound impact on how Canadians do business, innovate, create and share cultural products. AI technology and its applications are a major driver of investment nation-wide, with more and more Canadians using digital technology to create, consume, and fulfill their business needs. In this context, copyright law in Canada seeks to foster a marketplace suited to the changing needs of users, while continuing to offer creators the rights they need to encourage investment and job creation throughout the economy.”
According to Statistics Canada, The criteria for culture products is defined as:
The purpose of the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics (CFCS) is to provide the conceptual model to support the measurement of culture products and the industries and occupations that produce them. Possible approaches to measuring culture are varied. They include defining culture according to a traditional fine arts approach, which identifies culture products narrowly according to their artistic, aesthetic or symbolic values. At the other end of the spectrum is a broad anthropological approach, which characterizes culture as including most creative human activity, including language and religion.
The CFCS finds its own path, defining a culture product as originating from the creative artistic activities of its creators and their output. It does not evaluate culture according to intellectual, moral, or artistic values. Rather, to be within the scope of culture (in scope), a good or service must comply with the CFCS definition of culture and satisfy at least one of the following six criteria: It has the potential of being protected by copyright legislation, or in other words, be 'copyrightable'. Examples include a magazine article, script, manuscript, drawing, choreography, book, newspaper column, sculpture, radio program, film, videogame, etc.; It supports the creation, production, dissemination or preservation of culture products, e.g. recording, manufacturing, printing, broadcasting, podcasting, etc.; It adds to, or alters, the content of a culture product (content services), e.g. editorial services, translation, illustration, layout and design, music, etc.; It preserves, exhibits, or interprets human or natural heritage, e.g. historic sites and buildings, archives, museums, art galleries, libraries, botanical gardens, zoos, etc.; It provides training or educational services aimed at individuals who create, produce or preserve culture products; or It governs, finances, or supports directly culture creation, production or dissemination, e.g. services provided by government, unions, associations, copyright societies, etc.
Our contention is with the term “cultural products” as being the only clear context of the Copyright Act. While cultural products are within the scope of the discussion, there are other “products” that we feel are excluded by this definition. When the broad scope of inputs to feed AI/IoT is considered, there is a type of product that is the result of skilled work performed in a unique way, that represents a method or practice of work. Here we speak of products that are generated as a result of a human participation in a process, vs. an automated process.
We hold that human derived data/text products are subject to the same copyright protection as cultural/artistic products, in the common sense. We get to this position when we consider that software receives the same protections under copyright as cultural products.
This is possibly an area that needs clarification within the copyright act. The direct product and the first derivative should be considered as “a product of a person’s unique activities” and not machine generated data. We are specifically looking at the issue from a Farmer’s perspective of methods practices, and the resulting record of the unique approached used [the proprietary method employed] to accomplish work. This is different than machine generated data, in that a person is directing the machine in a unique way, for a unique output, with resulting “cultural products” that represent the implicit intent of the skilled artesian. This, of course, could apply to other persons, performing different typed of activities, that would desire the same protections for their skills in a different art. When patents are generated on inventions, it is often stated that variations of the patented material may result in variants created by persons “skilled in the art” of the subject matter covered.
WIPO defines a person skilled in the art, as: https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/ispe/13_03_13.html
13.11 The person skilled in the art should be presumed to be a hypothetical person having ordinary skill in the art and being aware of what was common general knowledge in the art at the relevant date. He should also be presumed to have had access to everything in the “prior art,” in particular, the documents cited in the international search report, and to have had at his disposal the normal means and capacity for routine experimentation. If the problem on which the invention is based and which arises from the closest prior art prompts the person skilled in the art to seek its solution in another technical field, the person skilled in the art in that field is the person qualified to solve the problem. The assessment of whether the solution involves an inventive step must therefore be based on that specialist’s knowledge and ability. There may be instances where it is more appropriate to think in terms of a group of persons, for example, a research or production team, than a single person…
As such, skilled in the art refers to a person exercising skills in a commonly understood “art” [speaking here to constructive works vs. cultural works]. In the context of a patent, this is common skills applied in a novel way, to create a new invention suited to patent protection. In the context of copyright, this is the use of common skills [e.g. playing a piano] to create a novel product [e.g. a song] that results in copyright protection. The difference is that patents are applied for, and copyrights are automatically granted on publication. In light of this, we continue the discussion about a Farmer’s product of their unique activities, using skills of their art. And methods of their own devising, with a mix of tools that are available or devised… These two topics cover data and interoperability, that will be key in the discussion of IoFT and Ai applications in agriculture.
That is to say, the digital outputs derived from the skills, methods, and tools farmers apply, should be proprietary copyrighted works. And, that the tools that are in the market [both physical and digital] need to interoperate to ensure optimization of work output in the critical agriculture sector [this holds true for all critical/strategic sectors/industries]. There is no place for farmer exploitation on their digital works or their choice of tools to employ. Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation we find ourselves in today… partly due to the Copyright Act emphasis on “cultural products”.
WIPO on trade secrets: https://www.wipo.int/tradesecrets/en/
Trade secrets are intellectual property (IP) rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed. In general, to qualify as a trade secret, the information must be: commercially valuable because it is secret, be known only to a limited group of persons, and be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret, including the use of confidentiality agreements for business partners and employees. The unauthorized acquisition, use or disclosure of such secret information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret protection.
The Art of Farming
The question to be considered, in a comprehensive review of the Copyright Act, is that of the key role played by digital/technical aspects of the “art”. If we consider to cultural product roots of the act, it is clear that a modernization of the act is required to encompass, clearly, the role that technology plays in creating art.
Today’s Act, mainly reflects technology in the sense of a person’s creative output in the form of software code. In this sense, the code is treated as a written text born from a creative person’s mind. A very long book, in essence. As IoT is primarily a software powered endeavour [as are most things today], the protections imparted by the Act deliver the required level of IP protection to the art.
However, data that is produced by the work of a person, or group of persons that are skilled in their art of their activities, where IoT devices form a part of the artist tools used, may not have protection for their creative outputs if these outputs are the documentation of their work, a journal which is unique to their methods, experiences and efforts. A farmer has many skills. The main effort is to convince dirt to make food, fiber, and fuel. This is accomplished by applying skills and craft with the use of tools.
Rather than trying to construe the farmer as a creative artistic person, we should rather refine copyright to reflect the realities of our modern activities in relation to copyright qualifying material and authors/creators. This should put focus on humans as authors and technology as tools. With Ai in particular, we run the risk of getting this backwards: Ai as the creator and the human as the tool. Let’s not make this mistake. Legislation and regulation must always hold the human in the loop as the rights holder and active participant. Technology is always the tool.
Technology in any form is a tool. The basic toaster is a tool, the user inserts bread, presses a button and out comes toast. The user did very little other than initiate the process and provide inputs. Ai is no different [although significantly more complicated], the user provides the inputs and pressed GO. The result is the programed result of the tools design. Ai can determine the process through learning and improve its performance, but it’s still a tool.
The questions that arise around Agriculture is how these tools could/are manipulating the intent of the farmers and others who participate in the sector. Ai/IoT as tools can contribute to the outcome, but should never exclude the participants from:
- control of the data that drives and results from the processes
- deciding which tool and how the tool will be used
- influencing costs of inputs and value of outputs used and derived from the activities
- freely controlling the processes used for produce and sustain activities with the tools of choice
- protecting the trade secrets of their commercial activities from competitors and supply chain
- protecting the right to competitive commerce in the sale of their outputs
Today, many of these fundamental tenants of competitive market participation are at risk. Primarily due to the inappropriate design and constraints of modern technology. Manufacturers of technology or products that contain embedded technology, are formulating business models that exploit the customer with token benefits to them when using the products. If this was framed in the context of efficiency, technology would be very inefficient for participants in the Agricultural sector. That is to say, the increase in productivity is negative. This has been documented in comparisons of technology adoption vs. returns and contrasts other sectors where moderate increases in productivity are observed.
Context and Concepts
Fundamental to IoT is the concept of Federated Architecture. Federated Architecture is the concept of systems that are designed to live, work and share in a common ecosystem. IoT requires a symbiotic relationship between system elements to achieve the true potential of the system as a whole. While named Internet of Things, it is also understood that privacy may be key to the value of a private IoT system. That is to say, IoT does not imply equal access for everyone on the internet to private systems. This seems obvious, but it will come up later in the discussion.
IoT and Ai both benefit from standards-based formats and protocols, both at the hardware levels and data/communications levels of a system. Effectively, interoperability is essential to IoT. Without it, there is little to no value in the concept. The IEEE and many others, are working towards standards. This is a big job and will take decades to solve.
“IEEE serves as the gathering place for the global technical community working on the Internet of Things (IoT), as demonstrated by the many ongoing activities of the IEEE Internet of Things Initiative. The IEEE IoT Initiative provides the platform where professionals learn, share knowledge, and collaborate on the sweeping convergence of technologies, markets, applications, and the Internet. The success of IoT depends strongly on standardization, which provides interoperability, compatibility, reliability, and effective operations on a global scale.”
The IoT is many things… but underpinning it all is some higher-level concepts of scope and intent. This paper will avoid the technical aspects of IoT, and instead focus on the aspect of IoT that interact with Copyright matters. The context will revolve around interoperability and ownership. Seemingly strange bedfellows… Interoperability is too loosely defined in many discussions. Commonly the definition is limited to data and some computer hardware contexts. In practice, there is a much broader scope to interoperability that needs to be addressed.
Some points that need to be considered around the topic of accountability [data] for TDM/Ai
- published works and trade secrets
- local vs. cloud storage
- nature of intent or implied access licenses
- provision of user level TPM systems to enforce user data/providence
- blockchain management of licenses for accountability enforcement for USERS
- a farms rights of incorporation, or partnership regarding data privacy/providence
- TDM only a risk to trafficked data
- Ai work derived from human inputs must respect the human inputs
- Pure Ai work not a risk to private data, unless data is used without authorization
- ownership of AI-generated or AI-assisted works
- define author
- General Ai does not exist, so needs to reflect specific Ai. E.g., human involvement
- in Ai works derived from human generated data, the human is the author
- Ai output could be construed as a functional work, not art
- No classifications of Ai work, rather focus on rights of human inputs
- As a result, only humans should be listed as authors of copyrights and inventors of patents
- When/if general Ai happens, copyright and patents become redundant.
- All is subject to human authority in any domain. Human rights cannot be infringed. See charter at end.
- Human authority and rights is the certainty we seek when evaluating positions.
Law and Society: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/law-and-society
One of the most historic ideas about the LAW is that it is based on human nature or reason, and therefore simply reflects what is natural or reasonable, enabling society to function in a just and effective manner. According to this conception, the law is also an expression of both the common good and the fundamental values of society. It is the same for everyone and protects everyone's interests. Lawmakers take into account the collective will and formulate the best laws possible.
A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
We live in a world governed by law. No matter what we do, the legal system and its laws are part of everyday life. Our legal system strives to represent principles Canadians believe in and each generation influences the legal system by changing existing laws or bring in new ones. In 1982, for example, the Government of Canada enacted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees certain rights to all Canadians, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
What Is Law?: There is no simple answer to this question. In our complex society, law regulates our social, political, and economic activities from birth to death.
The Need for Law: Laws permit us to live with other people in a safe and peaceful way. … In Canada, we believe in the Rule of Law, a three-part principle of justice. First, the Rule of Law means that individuals must recognize and accept that law is necessary to regulate society. Second, it means that the law applies equally to everyone, including people in power. And finally, the Rule of Law means that no one in our society has the authority to exercise unrestricted power to take away our rights except in accordance with the law.
Law and Morality: While some laws serve a practical purpose such as governing property rights, others reflect the moral values of the majority of society.
Law and Justice: The ultimate goal of law may be to ensure justice for all, but what exactly is justice? Most Canadians would agree that equality is at the very heart of justice, but equality doesn’t necessarily mean applying the law equally to all people regardless of the situation. …We also believe that justice should be impartial, that is, it applies to everyone regardless of a person’s income or status.
- Our social fabric consists of the human race, coexisting under a generally common social contract that is managed/enforced by laws and regulations.
- The human race is at the top of the food chain, and any laws/regulations should reflect this.
- Humans have rights. Technology is a tool and conforms to standards.
- As per anything invented by man, rules apply for anything that can bring harm to us.
- This applies to both plows and swords.
- Ai is technology and should only be treated as such.
- Ai is powerful technology and should be tightly regulated, whether a plow or a sword.
The Intersection of Tech and Art
Some would say that technology pushes us forward and copyright pulls us back. Others would hold the reverse to be true. Somewhere near the middle, lies the “truth”. This is not a ying and yang relationship, but more of a blended arrangement. Much of the copyrighted product in the world, exists through the use of technology: creative tools. Conversely, much of the value of technology, is its incorporation of copyrighted material: content. Because copyright holds books, music and software as equal art under the act, there is little air between them.
The difference is a person. People create, and the derivatives are the art. Copyright confirms ownership of the art on the holder. A person, or company of people. Today Ai is not considered a person [hopefully not ever]. The derivative of a system that is not guided by a person is not art, it is a functional work. The general definition of a functional work is: A work that can be considered to be of practical use, such as software, encyclopedia, dictionary and textbook; having no point of view and non-fiction in nature.
Copyright does not provide coverage of functional works. But wait, it does… Software receives copyright protection. This is the challenge in front of us, as we consider the Copyright Act in context to IoT and Ai. It will not be a straight forward discussion…
When considering updates to the Copyright Act that accommodate new and future technologies, we will only succeed when we address the issues around defining ownership of the “art”.
Trade Secrets is an area of protection that farms should have. Canada does not have trade secret protection other than as considered by common law. Whereas the US does provide such protections, in the form of U.S. Code § 1832 - Theft of trade secrets. Infringement of which incurs:
Any organization that commits any offense described in subsection (a) shall be fined not more than the greater of $5,000,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen trade secret to the organization, including expenses for research and design and other costs of reproducing the trade secret that the organization has thereby avoided.
The WTO seems to be moving towards software as patent, vs. software as art [copyright]. The TRIPS agreement, Article 27 highlights this: Source: https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_04c_e.htm
Article 27 Patentable Subject Matter
1. Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3, patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. (5) Subject to paragraph 4 of Article 65, paragraph 8 of Article 70 and paragraph 3 of this Article, patents shall be available and patent rights enjoyable without discrimination as to the place of invention, the field of technology and whether products are imported or locally produced.
This would have some impact on the copyrights of technology, and more appropriately place them in the patent realm. This would then leave the data created by a user of technology under the copyright act and more manageable within the context of the Act.
The Future of Being Human: https://cifar.ca/global-call/
The Future of Being Human
How our increasingly interconnected lives shape how we live, the choices we make, and the unanticipated consequences of each.
The pandemic has revealed cracks in a world that was already experiencing multiple crises. It has highlighted deep societal fault lines, and exacerbated inequalities within and between countries, while leading to the retrenchment of multilateralism, the thickening of borders, and revealing the precariousness of a tightly coupled and interconnected global system. At the same time, it has galvanized international scientific cooperation and spurred scientific and technological progress. It has also made us rethink our ethical responsibilities for future generations, norms, and terms of accountability. Humans are at an inflection point. Radical new ways of thinking, coupled with an openness to action, are giving rise to a sense of both optimism and urgency, with a clear emphasis on the role of science for a better future.
This increasingly complex and dynamic environment raises fundamental questions about the opportunities and limits of being human. Profound and rapid advances in technologies that enhance our human capacities, such as gene editing, algorithms for improving decision making, and surveillance, have far outpaced our understanding of how to develop, use, and govern them responsibly. New methods and tools augmented by exponentially-growing computational power are opening new areas of enquiry not previously possible. The scale and scope of available data is staggering and still growing; while at the same time, public trust in the traditional institutions gathering and analyzing these data is eroding.
Looking into the future, this situation forces us to think differently about how we govern, communicate and interact, and to re-evaluate what the essential qualities are that make us human.
State of Ai Report: https://www.stateof.ai/
Now in its third year, the State of AI Report 2020 features invited contributions from a range of well-known and up- and-coming companies and research groups. The Report considers the following key dimensions:
Research: Technology breakthroughs and capabilities.
Talent: Supply, demand and concentration of AI talent.
Industry: Areas of commercial application for AI and its business impact.
Politics: Regulation of AI, its economic implications and the emerging geopolitics of AI.
Predictions: What we believe will happen and a performance review to keep us honest.
Rebooting Regulation: Exploring the Future of AI Policy in Canada
MIT: A Unified Framework of Five Principles for AI in Society
3.1 Beneficence: promoting well-being, preserving dignity, and sustaining the planet
The principle of creating AI technology that is beneficial to humanity is expressed in different ways across the six documents, but is perhaps the easiest of the four traditional bioethics principles to observe. Montreal and IEEE principles both use the term “well-being”; for Montreal, “the development of AI should ultimately promote the well- being of all sentient creatures,” while IEEE states the need to “prioritize human well-being as an outcome in all system designs.” AIUK and Asilomar both characterise this principle as the “common good”: AI should “be developed for the common good and the benefit of humanity,” according to AIUK. The Partnership describes the intention to “ensure that AI technologies benefit and empower as many people as possible”, while the EGE emphasizes the principle of both “human dignity” and “sustainability.” Its principle of “sustainability” articulates perhaps the widest of all interpretations of beneficence, arguing that “AI technology must be in line with … ensuring the basic preconditions for life on our planet, continued prospering for mankind and the preservation of a good environment for future generations.” Taken together, the prominence of beneficence firmly underlines the central importance of promoting the well-being of people and the planet with AI.
3.2 Non-maleficence: privacy, security and ‘capability caution’
Though ‘do only good’ (beneficence) and ‘do no harm’ (non-maleficence) may seem logically equivalent, they are not, and represent distinct principles. While the six documents all encourage the creation of beneficent AI, each one also cautions against various negative consequences of overusing or misusing AI technologies (Cowls et al., 2018). Of particular concern is the prevention of infringements on personal privacy, which is included as a principle in five of the six sets. Several of the documents emphasize avoiding the misuse of AI technologies in other ways. The Asilomar Principles warn against the threats of an AI arms race and of the recursive self-improvement of AI, while the Partnership similarly asserts the importance of AI operating “within secure constraints.” The IEEE document meanwhile cites the need to “avoid misuse,” and the Montreal Declaration argues that those developing AI “should assume their responsibility by working against the risks arising from their technological innovations.” Yet from these various warnings, it is not entirely clear whether it is the people developing AI, or the technology itself, which should be encouraged not to do harm; in other words, whether it is Frankenstein or his monster against whose maleficence we should be guarding. At the heart of this quandary is the question of autonomy.
3.3 Autonomy: the power to decide (to decide)
When we adopt AI and its smart agency, we willingly cede some of our decision-making power to technological artefacts. Thus, affirming the principle of autonomy in the context of AI means striking a balance between the decision-making power we retain for ourselves and that which we delegate to artificial agents. The risk is that the growth in artificial autonomy may undermine the flourishing of human autonomy. It is not therefore surprising that the principle of autonomy is explicitly stated in four of the six documents. The Montreal Declaration articulates the need for a balance between human- and machine-led decision-making, stating that “the development of AI should promote the autonomy [italics added] of all human beings”. The EGE argues that autonomous systems “must not impair [the] freedom of human beings to set their own standards and norms,” while AIUK adopts the narrower stance that “the autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive human beings should never be vested in AI.” The Asilomar document similarly supports the principle of autonomy, insofar as “humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.” It is therefore clear both that the autonomy of humans should be promoted and that the autonomy of machines should be restricted and made intrinsically reversible, should human autonomy need to be protected or re-established (consider the case of a pilot able to turn off the automatic pilot and regain full control of the airplane). This introduces a notion we might call ‘meta-autonomy,’ or a ‘decide-to-delegate’ model: humans should retain the power to decide which decisions to take: exercising the freedom to choose where necessary, and ceding it in cases where overriding reasons, such as efficacy, may outweigh the loss of control over decision-making. Any delegation should also remain overridable in principle (i.e., deciding to decide again).
3.4 Justice: promoting prosperity, preserving solidarity, avoiding unfairness
The decision to make or delegate decisions does not take place in a vacuum. Nor is this capacity distributed equally across society. The consequences of this disparity in autonomy are addressed in the principle of justice. The importance of ‘justice’ is explicitly cited in the Montreal Declaration, which argues that “the development of AI should promote justice and seek to eliminate all types of discrimination,” while the Asilomar Principles include the need for both “shared benefit” and “shared prosperity” from AI. Under its principle named “Justice, equity and solidarity,” the EGE argues that AI should “contribute to global justice and equal access to the benefits” of AI technologies. It also warns against the risk of bias in datasets used to train AI systems, and – unique among the documents – argues for the need to defend against threats to “solidarity,” including “systems of mutual assistance such as in social insurance and healthcare.” Elsewhere ‘justice’ has still other meanings (especially in the sense of fairness), variously relating to the use of AI to correct past wrongs such as eliminating unfair discrimination, promoting diversity, and preventing the rise of new threats to justice. The diverse ways in which justice is characterized hints at a broader lack of clarity over AI as a human-made reservoir of ‘smart agency.’ Put simply, are we (humans) the patient, receiving the ‘treatment’ of AI, the doctor prescribing it? Or both? This question can only be resolved with the introduction of a fifth principle which emerges from our analysis.
3.5 Explicability: enabling the other principles through intelligibility and accountability
The short answer to the question of whether ‘we’ are the patient or the doctor is that actually we could be either, depending on the circumstances and on who ‘we’ are in everyday life. The situation is inherently unequal: a small fraction of humanity is currently engaged in the development of a set of technologies that are already transforming the everyday lives of almost everyone else. This stark reality is not lost on the authors whose documents we analyze. All of them refer to the need to understand and hold to account the decision-making processes of AI. Different terms express this principle: “transparency” in Asilomar and EGE; both “transparency” and “accountability” in IEEE; “intelligibility” in AIUK; and as “understandable and interpretable” by the Partnership. Each of these principles captures something seemingly novel about AI: that its workings are often invisible or unintelligible to all but (at best) the most expert observers.
The addition of the principle of ‘explicability,’ incorporating both the epistemological sense of ‘intelligibility’ (as an answer to the question ‘how does it work?’) and in the ethical sense of ‘accountability’ (as an answer to the question ‘who is responsible for the way it works?’), is the crucial missing piece of the AI ethics jigsaw. It complements the other four principles: for AI to be beneficent and non-maleficent, we must be able to understand the good or harm it is actually doing to society, and in which ways; for AI to promote and not constrain human autonomy, our ‘decision about who should decide’ must be informed by knowledge of how AI would act instead of us; and for AI to be just, we must know whom to hold accountable in the event of a serious, negative outcome, which would require in turn adequate understanding of why this outcome arose.
Government of Canada: directive on automated decision-making
The Government of Canada is increasingly looking to utilize artificial intelligence to make, or assist in making, administrative decisions to improve service delivery. The Government is committed to doing so in a manner that is compatible with core administrative law principles such as transparency, accountability, legality, and procedural fairness. Understanding that this technology is changing rapidly, this Directive will continue to evolve to ensure that it remains relevant. Date modified: 2021-04-01
4. Objectives and expected results
4.1 The objective of this Directive is to ensure that Automated Decision Systems are deployed in a manner that reduces risks to Canadians and federal institutions, and leads to more efficient, accurate, consistent, and interpretable decisions made pursuant to Canadian law.
4.2 The expected results of this Directive are as follows:
- 4.2.1 Decisions made by federal government departments are data-driven, responsible, and comply with procedural fairness and due process requirements.
- 4.2.2 Impacts of algorithms on administrative decisions are assessed and negative outcomes are reduced, when encountered.
- 4.2.3 Data and information on the use of Automated Decision Systems in federal institutions are made available to the public, where appropriate.
Does the objective of 4.2.2 sufficiently cater to accountability? In Hong Kong, they have added a higher level of accountability: Board and Senior Management accountable for the outcome of Ai applications!
Source/slide 112: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZUimafgXCBSLsgbacd6-a-dqO7yLyzIl1ZJbiCBUUT4/edit#slide=id.g924a1b59e3_0_146
Sample (Hong Kong Monetary Authority)
- Board and senior management accountable for the outcome of AI applications
- Possessing sufficient expertise
- Ensuring an appropriate level of explainability of AI applications
- Using data of good quality
- Conducting rigorous model validation
- Ensuring auditability of AI applications
- Implementing effective management oversight of third-party vendors
- Being ethical, fair and transparent
- Conducting periodic reviews and ongoing monitoring
- Complying with data protection requirements
- Implementing effective cybersecurity measures
- Risk mitigation and contingency plan
Artificial vs. Real
When considering the role and rights of artificial intelligence and human intelligence, one must pick sides. Real people in a real world are the holders of rights and enforcement of rights under law. Technology can be subject to restrictions, with the human suppliers of the technology held accountable. With the increasing power of technology, it is already a fact that some technologies are restricted under ITAR and similar trafficking restrictions. https://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/sell2usgov- vendreaugouvusa/procurement-marches/export-cont-export.aspx?lang=eng
All this to say, that we cannot casually approach the subject of Artificial Intelligence and hope for the best. Any question on the threats posed by Ai are addressed well in this document: US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence: https://www.nscai.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Full-Report-Digital-1.pdf
While currently working in the agricultural sector, my past experience is in technical development in the communication, defence and aviation industries. My experience includes integrating a cruise missile inside of an airplane for test flights [CDN DND/Robot-X], “teaching” an excavator to clear landmines with some functions being automated [US DoD/MAXX+], and teaching a computer to evaluate 20 years of satellite imagery in order to produce an atlas of threats for humanitarian workers in conflict zones [EU/STREAM]. This was before Artificial Intelligence was commonly available, so we had to do things the hard way. All of these projects would have delivered higher performance with the application of Artificial Intelligence that exists today. But it wasn’t available so the key questions we address today, were not posed.
In today’s world, there are questions looking for answers around Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Recently in Australia, an Artificial Intelligence system was listed as the inventor on a patent. Let that sink in a minute…
An Australian Court has decided that an artificial intelligence can be recognised as an inventor in a patent submission.
In a case brought by Stephen Thaler, who has filed and lost similar cases in other jurisdictions, Australia's Federal Court last month heard and decided that the nation's Commissioner of Patents erred when deciding that an AI can't be considered an inventor.
Justice Beach reached that conclusion because nothing in Australia law says the applicant for a patent must be human.
Technology is having and will continue to have a great impact on our world and the people living on it. It is imperative that our thinking and legislation around technology is human centric. Any effort to endow technology with rights and freedoms is a major misstep.
Let’s keep the Artificial Intelligence discussion real, with the protection of rights and freedoms of humans as the focus. Feeling the necessity to commit this statement to paper feels very strange …
Farmer’s Ownership in Copyright
According to the Government of Canada Copyright website:
Poems, paintings, plays, stories, songs, software—all are creative works worth protecting. Generally, your original work is automatically protected by copyright when you create it. However, when you register your copyright, you get a certificate of registration that you can use in court as evidence that you own the protected work.
How would this apply to a farmer’s digital outputs?
By way of practical example, below is a typical OEM equipment/services contract:
You control your data
In an increasingly connected world, technology makes it easy for you to share data from your business with others — if that’s what you choose to do. When you entrust your data to “OEM_1”and its subsidiaries through our services and subscriptions (Data Services), we safeguard that information and honor the permissions you set for sharing it with others. We created this statement to be clear about how we manage your data and to provide the details you need to make informed decisions about our Data Services.
Types of data we collect
Depending on the specific services, subscriptions, and tools that you use and how you use them we collect different types of data. For example:
Machine Data. If you use our XYZ services and tools, we will collect data indicating your machine’s health, efficiency and functions, including diagnostic codes, machine settings, software and firmware versions, attachments and implements, machine hours and lifetime usage, and machine location. You can see some of this data in the “OEM_1” XYZ apps.
Operational Data. If you use the “OEM_1” XYZ and related applications, we may collect information about the way you and others use your machines, including settings, throughput, and sensor readings, and we may also collect information about your work and operations, including field task details, area worked, route travelled, crop harvested and yield data, inputs applied, and historical information and reports. You can see and manage this data in the “OEM_1” XYZ and linked applications.
Administrative Data. Whenever you or your staff use our services and applications, we collect information that helps us administer your account and activities. This data includes data sharing permissions, users linked to your account, machines, devices, and licenses linked to your account, number of acres and size and nature of fields, and general information about the way you use your account and our applications. You can see and manage some of this information in the “OEM_1” XYZ and linked applications.
We do not use user-generated content. Some of our systems enable you to store and share information you or others create. This user-generated content includes variable rate prescriptions, notes, recordings, photographs, PDFs and other file types. We store, share, and use this content only to support you and to comply with court orders and legal or regulatory requirements.
How we use your data to serve you
We use your data, including your personal information, to provide you with contracted services and offerings and to administer your account. You can learn more about how we use your personal information, including the legal basis for using any personal information, in the “OEM_1” privacy statements for the applicable Data Service or by contacting us. We may share your data with “OEM_1” affiliates and suppliers to provide you with contracted services and offerings and to administer your account, subject to appropriate contractual restrictions and security measures. These affiliates and suppliers have committed to protect your data consistent with this statement and all applicable privacy and other laws. We may share your data with authorized “OEM_1” dealers so they can support you, unless you explicitly restrict access to specific dealers.
To learn from you
We may use your data to evaluate your use of our Data Services to assist with our development of new products and services, and to make improvements to our existing products and services depending on the privacy regulations applicable in the country where you are located. For example, analyzing your data may spotlight trends that inform our product support and development, warranty services, and diagnostic or prognostic activities. You can learn more about when and how we use your personal information, including the legal basis for using any personal information, in the “OEM_1” privacy statements for the applicable Data Service or by contacting us. We may combine your anonymized data with data from others and include your data in anonymized data sets. We may also share in aggregate, statistical form, non-personal information with our partners, affiliates or advertisers. We may use your data to prepare routine reports to industry associations, such as reports on market share or network activity and security.
Access to affiliates
All references to “We” in this statement include “OEM_1” Company and its subsidiaries. You may have granted “OEM_1” Financial certain rights to access machine data about your equipment in your financing or lease documents, including the location, maintenance, operation and condition of your equipment. If permitted by your finance or lease agreement, “OEM_1” Financial may continue to access machine data about your equipment during the term of the financing or lease agreement notwithstanding any election you may make. This could include reinstating machine data access if turned-off or otherwise disabled. Please review your finance or lease documents for more information.
Furthermore, the “OEM_1” farm data management application XYZ EULA states:
- The EULA is effective until terminated by You (by simply deleting the Licensed Application from your device) or “OEM_1”. Your rights under this EULA will terminate automatically without notice from “OEM_1” if You fail to comply with any term(s) of this license. Upon termination of the license, You shall cease all use of the Licensed Application, and destroy all copies, full or partial, of the Licensed Application.
- …When using the Licensed Application, You may submit, or use the Licensed Application to collect and submit, information, content, or data ( “Submitted Materials” ) to “OEM_1”. To the extent You choose to submit, or use the Licensed Application to collect and submit, Submitted Materials to “OEM_1”, You do so at Your own initiative, expressly acknowledge that You have the right to provide Submitted Materials to “OEM_1”, and are responsible for compliance with any applicable laws, including but not limited to applicable local laws, and You also agree that you will comply with any agreements or policies governing Submitted Materials including without limitation the “OEM_1”.com terms and conditions. Your submission of Submitted Materials may allow you to access information, content, or data ( “Accessed Materials” ) related to Submitted Materials. You agree that any Services contain proprietary content, information and material that is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws, including but not limited to patent, trademark, and copyright, and that You will not use such proprietary content, information or materials in any way whatsoever except for permitted use of the Services…
Now, some may read the above [with pain] and determine that this is pretty benign and normal. However, in the context of a commercial farm operation, many of the terms above are quite invasive and seek to capture a farms “trade secrets”. Commercial farms are not charities, they are commercial entities working in a competitive marketplace. There are two main points to make here:
Forced data collection and forwarding to an outside party, that acts as a gatekeeper and charges money to access your data is not desirable if given a choice. On the equipment “OEM_1” sells, the modems that transmit the data back to “OEM_1” are equiped with wi-fi and bluetooth, but they are disabled by “OEM_1”. This forces the data from the farm to be transmitted to “OEM_1” servers located in India [or other offshore locations], and for the farmer to have a subscription to buy back their data for use in a propietary “OEM_1” management application [also purchased/subscribed]. There is no option for the farm to opt out of this service and pull the data locally over wi-fi/bluetooth for use on an application of their choice. The only choice is to have access/use of their data, or not. When “OEM_1” states terms of access to affiliates, they don’t mean the farmer.
The data that is generated and organized by the farmer, is comprehensive enough to reverse engineer the farm’s accounting balance sheet. Inputs, acres, yields, condition, and very accurate location data, all contribute to delivering the ingrediants to create a “digital twin” of a farms operations. Do you know of any privately owed company that would intentionally expose this level of commercial detail of their operation to the market/suppliers/competitors/buyers? It opens the doors WIDE open for anti-competitive behaviour in the Agricultural sector. From iput costs, to market value and everything inbetween. The information generated by a farmer during his activities, is much more than a collection of factual compilations. Rather it embodies the unique methods and practices of his activity, that journals his work for follow on innovation. Such information should be considered propietary commercial information and trade secrets. Any IoT players in Ag will have to come to repspect the position of farm companies to secure their commercial interests. Today this is not the case, and wholesale data collection is the norm. Tech companies are using the “magic” of technology to do this while the user/data owner is left mostley unaware. Awareness is increasing and pushback can be expected. This is where interoperability comes into play. Open data formats [non-proprietary] are required to provide true choice to the data owner, when it comes to what/how much/and when data can be accessed to provide a service to the farmer. Any product or service that is 10% for the farmer and 90% for the outside company, is not fair, competive, or honest. It would be considered an abuse of the client relationship. This is not free as in beer social media sharing, this is commercial in confidence and needs to be treated as such. We must respect the trade secerets of the farm.
Security is an issue. Whenever data from the farm is forced through an external server loop [cloud, walled garden], the data is exposed to risk that would not exist if processed locally on the farm. The FBI is aware that the risk increases as more data is committed to the IoT cloud space. There is no evidence that data stored online is protected from exploitation. In agriculture, this was made clear by revelations of “OEM_1” server access by unauthorized parties that gained access to more than five years of equipment/farm data hosted on their servers.
The Food and Agriculture sector is among the critical infrastructure sectors increasingly targeted by cyber attacks. As the sector moves to adopt more smart technologies and internet of things (IoT) processes the attack surface increases. Larger businesses are targeted based on their perceived ability to pay higher ransom demands, while smaller entities may be seen as soft targets, particularly those in earlier stages of digitizing their processes, according to a private industry report.
The risk to commercial operations due to these vulnerabilities is not trivial. And when combined with industry anti- competitive exploits, can significantly squeeze producers’ profitability. When we are promoting technology adoption by producers, profitability matters.
Possibly part of the solution is homomorphic encryption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homomorphic_encryption
Homomorphic encryption is a form of encryption that permits users to perform computations on its encrypted data without first decrypting it. These resulting computations are left in an encrypted form which, when decrypted, result in an identical output to that produced had the operations been performed on the unencrypted data. Homomorphic encryption can be used for privacy-preserving outsourced storage and computation. This allows data to be encrypted and out-sourced to commercial cloud environments for processing, all while encrypted.
For sensitive data, such as health care information, homomorphic encryption can be used to enable new services by removing privacy barriers inhibiting data sharing or increase security to existing services. For example, predictive analytics in health care can be hard to apply via a third-party service provider due to medical data privacy concerns, but if the predictive analytics service provider can operate on encrypted data instead, these privacy concerns are diminished. Moreover, even if the service provider's system is compromised, the data would remain secure.
While briefly described above, there are a series of things that need to be considered from the perspective of the commercial farm [Agricultural Producers]. These things are to be considered in a way that reflects on what is wanted vs. what is offered. These offerings can be commercial [products and services] or social [legislation and regulations]. When evaluating what needs to be done, all solutions need to be weighed against what is fundamentally right for the farmer.
Farming is a creative art applied through skills with generations of wisdom and knowledge. Technology is best deployed as a beneficial and functional tool.
Society and laws are built around the human population of all nations.
Society and our activities are protected from harm through appropriate laws and enforcements.
Any future legislation must consider these principles and apply them to the benefit of human society, and not some abstract imagination of society. This means that technology has no rights under law.
Thomson Reuters Legal division summarizes it well:
Preserving our values
In order to protect our long-held core values around privacy, confidentiality, identity and transparency, current laws should be revisited to consider how all this information is being collected, used, and analyzed. While Big Data offers many opportunities to make services more convenient, we should also ask, “at what cost?” It’s important to think about what sort of big data predictions we want to be cautious of and their unintended consequences when it comes to predicting behavior. While giving more control to people over their personal information is a good place to start, it’s also important to acknowledge that by giving too much authority to Big Data, we lose the right to our personal identity, which may be too heavy a price.
Below is the bones of a Charter that in the context of Agriculture and Technology, attempts to establish fundamental boundaries and should be protected by law.
From the perspective of short line manufacturers in Canada, interoperability is a key element of this.
All products that contain embedded software for use in industry, must provide a documented compatibility layer through hardware abstraction and code connections to allow multi-brand solutions to be developed and deployed. Historically, industry has been fairly consistent about this, but as more tech generates more data, the power of interoperability for downstream innovation, is replaced with walled gardens and product tying. Harm to innovation is the result, and holds hands with anti-competitive commercial practices and privacy breaches.
If there is only one result from this copyright act review, let it be freedom to innovate.
The Agricultural Producers Charter of Ownership Rights and Freedoms
Ownership of Product
OEMs acknowledge upon purchase of an agricultural equipment product by a producer OEM’s patent rights are exhausted and OEMs can no longer control that product, and their designees are collectively known as users. Users may be subject to certain warranty conditions, but those conditions shall not imply relinquishing any ownership rights. Users shall have full rights and responsibilities consistent with their status as a user/owner.
Tying Product to OEM
In compliance with the national and regional laws, no OEM shall require the tying of service or parts by any means for an agricultural equipment user. OEMs acknowledge that upon sale of agricultural equipment they have no responsibility for the maintenance, enhancement, improvement, or modification of the product.
Trade Secrets of OWM and Owners
This CHARTER does not require any party to divulge trade secrets [unless it inhibits interoperability]. Additionally, this CHARTER does not require any party to violate its obligations to comply with applicable regulations, including but not limited to, engine emission controls, product safety, and/or related equipment performance settings except as required by law. Parties agree that if trade secrets are revealed, they will notify and be reverted to their rightful owners as soon as reasonably possible for their benefit and use if requested.
OEMs shall recognize all the data from agricultural equipment owned, leased, or rented as authored by the producer, including machine data and operational data, as proprietary and should be treated as the producer’s copyrighted material, past, present, and future. Producer’s data shall not be sold, shared, copied, or distributed in any form without the agricultural equipment owner’s express authorization. Legal jurisdiction for any disputes about the data will be in Canada, the producer’s province, and/or locale. The Producer’s data shall be treated as commercial confidential and they will have exclusive providence over all their data [information that, if improperly disclosed or disclosed without permission, may result in damage to a Producers’ commercial interests and/or intellectual property].
User Data Permissions
Producer’s grant of permission shall specify the authorized data and its use. Producer’s grant of permission may be withdrawn upon owner’s notice. Data obtained by the OEM for warranty or repair purposes may be transmitted, collected, stored, processed, or shared, to third parties, such as branded dealers, and other service providers to provide for OEM’s warranty services. No other use of the data is allowed without explicit permission, opt in. OEMs will provide an annual report to the administrator about data usage and steps to protect the data. Withdrawal of consent should be respected and put a stop to any further collection and use of the individual’s personal information. It will also mean that data held by an organization about an individual should be deleted upon request.
User Data Protection
Any party granted access to another party’s data shall use best practices to safeguard the data. OEMs shall exercise best practices for data protection as guided by Federal Government and Regulatory agencies. These protections shall apply to producer’s data wherever and whenever it is transmitted, stored, or processed. If data vulnerabilities are discovered and after they have been appropriately remediated, they shall be reported to the administrator for publication. All data breaches shall be managed as per governing law and reported to the administrator. OEMs will provide an annual report to the administrator of their steps to protect the data. In all cases, the data should not be access or stored outside of Canada, except by the explicit decision of the Producer.
Support Information Availability
For equipment manufactured after January 1, 2000, an OEM shall make commercially reasonable efforts for users to purchase under fair and reasonable terms all software installation tools, diagnostic tools, documentation, and related information for a functional repair. If the above is not available as recommended, said product shall be deemed an obsolete product or orphaned product. In that case, users shall have unfettered ownership rights. OEMs will notify the administrator within fifteen (15) days of their intent to obsolete a product and will immediately transfer all copyrighted material or intellectual property to an administrator. The administrator will make accessible all such tools via the Internet or by other common industry practices as Public Domain.
Embedded software and software tools shall be updated on an ongoing basis. OEMs will notify the administrator of the purpose of an update one week prior to its release unless it is considered an emergency. If an update is released on an emergency basis OEMs will notify the administrator expeditiously. OEMs will not use the update process to diminish the performance or effectiveness of the product. Any part or electronic control unit included in the product but manufactured by another organization shall be subject to these same requirements.
OEMs shall comply fully with open-source software license requirements used in their products. OEMs shall report and make accessible to the administrator all instances where open-sourced software is used. OEMs shall follow software industry’s best practices including, but not limited to, source control management and public repository access and continuous integration and release, and maintenance. OEMs shall claim only the software rights as stipulated by the copyright holder in their end user license agreements (EULA). Compliance with this agreement does not authorize parties to violate any applicable law.
Interoperability and innovation are essential requirements of the agricultural industry. All parties shall respect another party’s creativity and right to fully participate within the industry. OEMs shall provide to the administrator for publication, all product communication standards and interface specifications for achieving interoperability. Refusal to deal in parts required for interoperability is not acceptable, and is in contravention of section 75 of the Canadian Competition Act.
Nothing in this document shall be read, interpreted, or construed to abrogate, interfere with, or alter the terms of any OEM’s branded dealer agreement for the performance or provision of warranty, repair, or software updates of agricultural equipment. No OEM shall require a dealer to solely represent their products and services [as per provincial Agricultural Acts]. All OEM certifications shall be available at commercially reasonable rates.
The “Administrator” is not defined in the charter. The role would need to be some form of industry watchdog and curator/publisher.