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July 15, 2024

Why Do AI

Artificial Intelligence Insights and News

Responsible AI: ISO/IEC 42001 AIMS

3 min read

The recent publication of ISO/IEC 42001 provides a comprehensive framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an AI Management System (AIMS) as the technology rapidly evolves, underscoring the need for standardized management of AI systems. The standard offers organizations a structured approach to managing AI systems responsibly. It encompasses a set of requirements and guidelines designed to aid in the use, development, monitoring, and provision of AI-based products or services. ISO/IEC 42001 is intended to ensure engagement in AI practices responsibly, meeting objectives while adhering to relevant obligations and stakeholder expectations.


ISO/IEC 42001 addresses several critical considerations unique to AI systems. These include the challenges posed by AI in automatic decision-making, often characterized by non-transparency and inexplicability. The standard also acknowledges the shift in system development methodologies from human-coded logic to data analysis and machine learning. Additionally, it emphasizes the need for special management considerations for AI systems that learn and evolve during use, ensuring their responsible application. The standard applies to any organization, regardless of its size, type, or nature, that utilizes AI systems in its products or services and highlights the need for a comprehensive assessment of societal and individual impacts, emphasizing the importance of data quality to meet organizational needs. The primary goal is to maximize the benefits of AI for organizations and society while ensuring that AI systems are developed responsibly and aims to reassure stakeholders about the ethical use and deployment of these technologies.


Implementing an AIMS requires a multidisciplinary approach, often involving legal, privacy, operations, marketing, R&D, sales, HR, IT, and risk management professionals, depending on the use case. To put an integrated system in place requires senior management support, training, governance processes and risk management – all essential to getting AI governance and accountability right. ISO/IEC 42001 delivers detailed implementation controls, emphasizing performance measurement, both quantitative and qualitative. It mandates regular audits to assess AI systems and conformity to requirements in a circular process of establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving.


ISO/IEC 42001 closely aligns with the EU AI Act, which classifies AI systems into prohibited and high-risk categories, each with specific compliance obligations. The standard’s focus on ethical AI management and transparency is in harmony with these categories, offering a pathway to meet the AI Act’s requirements. As AI regulation and development continue to evolve rapidly, the interaction between ISO/IEC 42001 and other frameworks, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework, will be important to watch. This standard is set to significantly influence AI activities worldwide, shaping the future of AI in a responsible and ethical manner.


Given the broad reach of AI, it is anticipated that ISO/IEC 42001 will become as integral to organizational success as established Management System standards such as ISO 9001 in Quality management, ISO 14001 in Environmental management and ISO/IEC 27001 in Cyber Security. By providing a comprehensive framework for responsible AI implementation, it addresses the urgent need for ethical, transparent, and reliable AI. As organizations globally navigate the complexities of AI integration, ISO/IEC 42001 emerges as a key tool in ensuring AI’s beneficial and responsible use in society.