Matt White’s Responsible AI Framework

Matt White
8 min readAug 26, 2023

A comprehensive standard framework for guiding responsible and trusted AI research, design, development and usage.

Image generated by DALL-E 2. (prompt: a handshake between a human and a robot)

In an era where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing industries, sparking innovation, and changing the way we live, work, learn and think, the ethical aspects of its development, deployment and usage are becoming a critical area of discussion. In addition to the ethical aspects, concerns about the trustworthiness of AI systems including their alignment with human values and their controllability are also under scrutiny by regulators and the general public.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to magnify both benefits and harms. While it can drive efficiency, generate content, and even make decisions autonomously, it can also amplify bias, invade privacy, and make unexplainable decisions. For this reason Responsible AI and Trustworthy AI frameworks have emerged to guide research and development, applications and uses of AI by everyone from AI researchers to data scientists and AI application developers to end users.

Why a Comprehensive Responsible AI Framework?

There are existing AI Ethics and AI Trust frameworks (see the bottom of this article) including Microsoft and Google’s Responsible AI frameworks and the EU’s Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, however none of the frameworks completely address all of the the necessary areas for both ethical approaches to AI and creating trusted AI systems. In addition developing trustworthy AI is absolutely a matter of ethics and as such should be included in a Responsible AI framework.

These frameworks do not have to exist separately and there is significant overlap between them, a unified framework that industries and government can rally around will increase its adoption, adherence and enforcement and ultimately benefit everyone. The Responsible AI framework introduced here integrates elements from both approaches and provides a more comprehensive framework to guide AI research, AI application development and AI usage.

A comprehensive Responsible AI Framework ensures that AI is designed, applied and used in ways that are ethical, fair, and beneficial to society at large in a proven and universally accepted manner.

It’s crucial to understand that the responsibility doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of AI researchers or engineers. Business leaders, developers, organizations, users, and all stakeholders involved in the AI life cycle have an essential role in ensuring the ethical and responsible use of AI-based systems.

Matt White’s Responsible AI Framework

The 7 Pillars of The Responsible AI Framework

1. Human-centered and Aligned

  • Importance: AI systems should prioritize human well-being, values, and rights.
  • Addresses: Ensuring that AI technologies respect human autonomy, freedom, and dignity.
  • Implementation: Collaborative human-AI interactions, prioritizing human override features, and iterative feedback loops.
  • Example: Google’s Duplex system, designed to make reservations on behalf of users, always informs the person on the other end that they’re speaking to an AI.

2. Ethical and Inclusive

  • Importance: AI should be designed to be fair and non-discriminatory.
  • Addresses: Reducing biases, promoting diversity, and ensuring equal representation in AI systems.
  • Implementation: Conducting regular bias audits, involving diverse teams in AI development, and ensuring fairness in AI predictions.
  • Example: In 2018, MIT researchers found that facial recognition software had higher error rates in identifying female and darker-skinned faces, highlighting the need for diverse training data and regular bias checks.

3. Compliant and Controllable

  • Importance: AI should be developed and used within the bounds of global regulations and be controllable by human operators.
  • Addresses: Legal and ethical compliance of AI deployments.
  • Implementation: Regular legal reviews, the ability for humans to control AI outputs, and adaptability in AI functionalities.
  • Example: Microsoft’s Tay bot, which started spewing hate speech, was swiftly shut down, underscoring the need for human control.

4. Privacy and Security

  • Importance: Ensuring data protection, privacy preservation and security.
  • Addresses: Data breaches, misuse of personal information, data leakage, and unauthorized access.
  • Implementation: Robust data encryption, differential privacy techniques, model isolation, and secure data storage solutions.
  • Example: OpenAI’s ChatGPT began exposing other users’ chat history, making them visable to other users.

5. Transparent and Explainable

  • Importance: Stakeholders should be able to understand how AI systems work and why they make decisions.
  • Addresses: The opacity of AI algorithms, especially deep learning models.
  • Implementation: Use of explainable AI (XAI) models, clear documentation, and user-friendly interfaces detailing AI operations.
  • Example: The COMPAS system, used for assessing recidivism risk in the U.S., faced ethical concerns due to its lack of transparency and explainability.

6. Accessible and Reliable

  • Importance: AI should be dependable and available to all.
  • Addresses: Unequal access to AI benefits and unreliable AI systems.
  • Implementation: Open-source AI initiatives, rigorous testing phases, and ensuring AI systems are robust and fault-tolerant.
  • Example: Google’s AI for Social Good program aims to make AI benefits universally accessible.

7. Accountability

  • Importance: There must be clarity on who is responsible for AI’s actions and outcomes.
  • Addresses: The ‘black box’ nature of AI, where it’s unclear who’s accountable for decisions made.
  • Implementation: Clear documentation of AI design, decisions, and a chain of responsibility for AI outputs. Accountability enforced through legislation and the courts.
  • Example: Uber’s fatal self-driving car crash in 2018 raised questions about who was accountable — the technology, the backup driver, or the company?

The evolution of AI is inevitable, but its ethical application is a choice.

AI’s growing omnipresence and dependency in our lives makes a robust ethical framework not just desirable, but essential. Only through collective responsibility, continual learning, and proactive implementation of a Responsible AI framework can we hope to see a future where AI truly benefits humanity.

Matt White’s Responsible AI Framework is a beacon in this complex landscape, illuminating the path for all stakeholders in the AI ecosystem. By adhering to the 7 principles and integrating them into every stage of the AI lifecycle, we can harness the potential of AI while minimizing its risks, and ensuring a harmonious future where AI complements humanity, rather than conflicts with it.

Alternative Frameworks:

AI Ethics Frameworks

AI ethics frameworks serve as guidelines for responsible design, development, deployment, and monitoring of AI technologies. They often touch upon principles like fairness, accountability, transparency, and security.

In addition to Matt White’s Responsible AI framework, there are some other notable frameworks:

The Asilomar AI Principles

Developed during the Beneficial AI Conference held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, this framework touches upon areas like research, ethics, values, and longer-term issues.

EU Guidelines on AI Ethics

The European Union has developed a set of guidelines that emphasize human oversight, robustness and safety, privacy and data governance, transparency, fairness, well-being, and accountability.

Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence

This Canadian initiative lays out ethical guidelines that prioritize well-being, respect for autonomy, democratization, justice and inclusion, and responsible AI development and use.

Toronto Declaration

Focused on machine learning specifically, this declaration is concerned with protecting the right to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems.

Google’s AI Principles

Google has also outlined its own set of AI principles which focus on social benefits, safety, fairness, accountability, privacy, and scientific excellence.

IEEE’s Ethically Aligned Design

A comprehensive document outlining the principles that should guide the ethical development and deployment of autonomous and intelligent systems, produced by the IEEE Standards Association.

OpenAI’s Charter

This charter outlines OpenAI’s commitment to ensuring that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity, avoids uses that harm humanity or concentrate power, prioritizes long-term safety, and cooperates actively with other research and policy institutions.

Partnership on AI’s Tenets

Founded by Amazon, Apple, Google, DeepMind, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft, the Partnership on AI focuses on ensuring AI benefits people and society, avoids concentration of benefits, promotes safety, and prioritizes transparency among other principles.

Data Ethics Framework by the UK Government

This framework provides guidelines to use data ethically and responsibly, aiming to make it easy for government departments to create ethical, effective, and safe data projects.

The FAT/ML Principles

Focused on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (FAT/ML), these principles have been widely cited and provide specific guidelines on ensuring that machine learning algorithms are transparent, fair, and accountable.

OECD Principles on AI

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has principles that focus on inclusive growth, sustainable development, human-centered values, transparency, robustness, security, and accountability.

Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standard

Microsoft has outlined six principles — fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability — for responsible AI development and usage.

Each of these frameworks has its own unique focus and scope, but they generally aim to ensure that AI technologies are developed and deployed in a manner that is ethical, transparent, and beneficial to all.

AI Trust Frameworks

Trusted AI frameworks focus primarily on building AI systems that are reliable, secure, and understandable, to earn the confidence of both developers and users. These frameworks usually include principles or guidelines around issues like transparency, security, fairness, and accountability.

Here are some notable trusted AI frameworks:

IBM’s Trusted AI Principles

IBM has outlined specific principles focusing on fairness, explainability, and robustness. They have also developed open-source toolkits like AI Fairness 360 and AI Explainability 360 to facilitate trusted AI development.

The Defense Innovation Board’s AI Principles

Used for Defense (U.S.), these principles emphasize responsible AI behaviors with focuses on equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable AI technologies.

Singapore’s Model AI Governance Framework

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has developed guidelines that focus on internal governance structures and measures to ensure responsible AI behavior, including customer relationship management and data management practices.

NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working on a framework to help organizations manage risks associated with AI, focusing on characteristics like accuracy, transparency, and reliability.

AI Trustworthiness Framework by PwC

PwC has developed a set of dimensions for trust in AI that includes fairness, interpretability, robustness, and lineage among other principles.

HITRUST Common Security Framework

While not exclusively designed for AI, the HITRUST CSF is a certifiable framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible, and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management, which is crucial for building trust in AI applications, especially in healthcare.

Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standard

Although it covers responsible AI, Microsoft’s guidelines also focus on elements crucial to building trust, like fairness, security, and reliability.

ISO Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is in the process of developing international standards for AI, focusing on robustness, safety, and other critical attributes that form the basis for trust.

DARPA’s Explainable AI (XAI)

Though it’s a program rather than a framework, DARPA’s XAI initiative aims to create a suite of machine learning techniques that produce explainable models while maintaining performance levels, thus building trust.

Google’s AI Principles

Google’s principles also contain elements that contribute to trust, including safety, explainability, and accountability.

Each framework or set of principles addresses different facets of trustworthiness in AI. The commonality among them is their aim to build AI systems that are not only powerful but also understandable, accountable, and reliable.



Matt White

AI Researcher | Educator | Strategist | Author | Consultant | Founder | Linux Foundation, PyTorch Foundation, Generative AI Commons, UC Berkeley