ISO 42001

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Section 1 - Description

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Section 2 - Scope

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Section 3 - Requirements

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Section 4 - Penalties

Section 1

Description:

ISO 42001 is a voluntary standard that details a way for “establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving” managing AI systems in organizations. This framework is focused on responsibility, accountability, and addressing the specific challenges and opportunities presented by AI technology.

The standard is certifiable and auditable, so organizations will be able to demonstrate their responsible training, testing and use of AI.

Section 2

Scope:

The standard broadly considers any organization developing, providing, or using AI systems. The framework is industry-agnostic and can be applied by organizations of all types and sizes.

Compared to ISO 23894, published in February 2023, ISO 42001 is broader in scope. ISO 23894 only focuses on AI risk management, where ISO 42001 is focused on comprehensive organization-level management of AI, which includes more than risk management.

Section 3

Requirements:

ISO documents are not publicly released for free and must be purchased from ISO. Broadly, however, it covers the following:

  • Policies and procedures for AI governance, including a clarification of roles and responsibilities
  • Evaluating the impact of AI systems, including the ongoing monitoring of such systems
  • Managing the lifecycle of AI systems and related data assets
  • Ensuring diversity and inclusion are considered
  • Continuous improvement of the organization’s AI governance practice

As a “process standard”, the goal is not just to define best practices of AI governance, but to provide a path for organizations to operationalize them.

The standard is currently voluntary and opt-in. Organizations who wish to demonstrate sound AI management practices can do so by following the standard and getting certified. However, it’s possible that governments (like the EU, which recently passed its AI Act) may look to make ISO 42001 compliance a requirement in certain cases, like procurement of AI by governments. If this happens, ISO 42001 compliance could become table-stakes for selling AI, much in the way that SOC2 and ISO 27001 are for information security.

    Section 4

    Penalties:

    No penalties, this is purely voluntary and there is no stated plan for this to become regulation.