Telstra became the sixth organisation globally to join UNESCO’s Business Council to promote the ethical use of AI technologies, and the first in Australia.

The operator explained in a statement it will work with UNESCO and other members to support policy development in critical areas, such as data governance and diversity, with the aim “to champion and advance the ethical development and application of AI”.

The organisation’s recommendation on AI advocates for the technology to be governed by values that promote human rights, dignity and environmental sustainability. The Business Council also works to develop an ethical impact assessment tool, as well as joint initiatives to ensure AI serves the public good, the statement added.

Kim Krogh Andersen, Telstra’s group executive of product and technology, said its membership is about translating the recommendation into “practical action and tangible outcomes”.  He added AI is a transformative technology with the potential to benefit societies globally, but “requires very careful and deliberate stewardship”.

Telstra said it has worked with the federal government to pilot and test AI ethics principles and co-authored the Responsible AI Playbook with the GSMA. 

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers last week unveiled plans to re-prioritise its climate change investments by moving funds away from the purchase of carbon credits in favour of decarbonisation projects that will reduce its footprint overall.

Chief sustainability officer Justine Rowe noted in post the move will deliver additional cost savings over time as it reduces its energy bills.