It’s Time to define Levels of Autonomy for Digital Workers & AI Agents similar to Self-Driving Vehicles: IDWA kicks off the Process

The rapid development of AI is giving rise to an increasing number of Digital Workers, AI agents & AI agent platforms that are capable of executing tasks,  making decisions and taking actions on their own. 

In the context of self-driving vehicles, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed a six-level scale for defining the levels of autonomy. This scale ranges from Level 0, where the human driver is in complete control, to Level 5, where the vehicle is fully autonomous and can operate in any environment.

A similar scale could and should be developed for Digital Workers/ AI agents. This would help clarify the expectations of users and developers, and potentially define industry standards for a faster and sustainable development of this ecosystem. The IDWA – International Digital Workers Association will propose a draft of Digital Worker (Digital Employee) Autonomy Levels at their conference IDWA-Forum in Silicon Valley on November 8th.

Some of the key  benefits of defining levels of autonomy for AI agents:

  • Increased transparency: By making it clear what AI agents can and cannot do, we can help to build trust among users.
  • Improved safety: By clearly defining the capabilities of AI agents, we can help to ensure that they are used in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Reduced liability: By establishing clear guidelines for AI development, we can help to reduce the risk of liability for AI developers.

But this is not an easy task; some of the challenges include:

  • The complexity of AI: AI agents are complex systems that can be difficult to understand and predict. This makes it difficult to define clear boundaries between different levels of autonomy.
  • The rapid pace of AI development: The field of AI is constantly evolving, which means that any definition of levels of autonomy will need to be updated regularly.

IDWA is taking on this challenge and proposing a draft with 8 levels from level 0 ( no task automation), level 4 (autonomous task management) to level 8 ( leadership) to begin the process of defining levels of autonomy for Digital workers and AI agents. 

The IDWA-Forum is produced by Kuzma Frost.

The IDWA is led by David Yang and Michael Engel.

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