Upcoming International Standard for Advanced IT Professionals: ISO/IEC 24773 & IFIP IP3 Accreditation

Author: Tetsuro Kakeshita (Saga University) https://www.cs.is.saga-u.ac.jp/english/tetsuro-kakeshita.html

We organized the following event at the 86th National Convention of the Information Processing Society of Japan (March 15-17, 2024, at Kanagawa University). Representatives from IPSJ, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7/WG20, and IFIP IP3 introduced their respective efforts and had discussions to deepen cooperation. This article presents an overview of the event.

ISO/IEC 24773 is an ISO standard that provides requirements and guidance for certification schemes for software and systems engineers. The IEEE Computer Society, INCOSE, the Information Processing Society of Japan, and other related parties are expected to complete the ISO standardization by 2024. The Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) has supported the development of the above standard and has promoted ISO compliance of the Certified Information Technology Professionals (CITP) certification system. On the other side, IFIP IP3 has been studying an international accreditation system for the ISO/IEC 24773-compliant certification schemes. We introduced these efforts and extended the discussion on the significance of software engineers for the future society where Digital Transformation (DX) is progressing.

Title: International Standard ISO/IEC 24773 and its Significance

Speaker: Hironori Washizaki (ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7/WG20 Convener, IEEE Computer Society 2025 President)

The ISO/IEC 24773 series (Fig. 1) is an international standard that defines requirements and guidance for certification schemes for individual engineers that evaluate and certify the knowledge, skills, and competencies of engineers in systems engineering and software engineering. While various certification schemes operate in different countries and regions, as the systems and software development industry become increasingly internationalized, a common standard is expected to confirm a certain quality of certification schemes, promote mutual common understanding, and increase the international mobility of engineers. In this presentation, the purpose, prospects, and impact on certification schemes, their governing bodies, engineers, and the industry will be explained from the standpoint of the convener (lead coordinator) of the working group that is compiling the standardization of the series.

ISO/IEC 24773 is an international standard for certification systems for software and systems engineering. The standard provides guidelines on requirements, processes, and evaluation methods for certification systems and aims to ensure credibility, transparency, and international compatibility of certification.

The significance of ISO/IEC 24773 is listed below.

  1. International compatibility: A certification scheme conforming to ISO/IEC 24773 is internationally recognized and facilitates the movement and cooperation of engineers between different countries and regions.
  2. Increased credibility: Ensuring that the certification scheme operates according to certain standards increases the credibility and value of the certifications.
  3. Transparency: ISO/IEC 17024 (General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons), a prerequisite for ISO/IEC 24773, defines requirements for the certification process and evaluation criteria. This makes it easier for candidates and employers to understand the meaning and importance of certifications.
  4. Improved quality: Applying consistent standards to the operation of the certification scheme will improve the quality of education and training and increase skill levels throughout the industry.
  5. Promoting professionalism: The certification system provides a means for engineers to demonstrate that they possess professional knowledge and an ethical code of conduct, thereby contributing to the promotion of professionalism in the information technology domain.

Professional certification systems in various industries are mechanisms for assessing and certifying an individual’s expertise, skills, and competence. The importance of this system lies in the following aspects

  1. Recognition of Skill Levels of Engineers: It is noted that 34% of IT engineers in Japan are unsure of their IT skill levels, a much higher percentage than in Germany, the U.S., and other countries. This indicates that there is a lack of a system to objectively evaluate one’s skill level.
  2. Verification of Skills: A certification scheme demonstrates that an individual has a certain level of knowledge and skills in a particular field or technology. This allows employers and clients to have confidence that the candidate is capable of performing the required tasks.
  3. Career Promotion: Certifications contribute to an individual’s professional growth and career development. Certifications may be a requirement for promotion and salary increases.
  4. Establishment of industry standards: Certification schemes help establish industry standards in individual specialties, including the IT domain. This improves quality and professionalism throughout the industry.
  5. Increased credibility: A credential system is a basis of trust that proves an individual is an expert in his or her field. This helps to gain the trust of customers and business partners.
  6. Continuous learning and growth: Conformance to ISO/IEC 24773 requires periodical renewal and continuing professional development (CPD). This ensures that professionals stay up-to-date with the latest technology and industry trends.
  7. International Recognition: A certification system that conforms to ISO standards provides a means of demonstrating an individual’s skills in the global marketplace. This opens up international career opportunities.

Title: International Accreditation for Certification Schemes at IFIP IP3

Speaker: Tetsuro Kakeshita (IFIP IP3 Standards and Accreditation Council co-chair)

IFIP IP3 (International Professional Practice Partnership) has been working for 15 years to accredit and ensure the international credibility of the certification schemes operated by IFIP member societies. The revision of the ISO/IEC 24773 series is now in its final stages, and IFIP IP3 is considering a mechanism to certify the conformity of member societies with the new ISO/IEC 24773. As the digital society progresses and new technologies such as generative AI are being created one after another, digital engineers who are qualified to ISO standards and have internationally accepted skills are expected to become more and more important. Therefore, we are planning to change the conventional volunteer-based management of IP3 by including certification schemes run by non-IFIP member societies in the scope of accreditation (Fig. 2). In this presentation, the status of IP3 activities was described, and an attempt to automate the activities required for the assessment by actively utilizing online technology and LLM was also reported.

The following initiatives were introduced for the launch of the accreditation system at IFIP IP3:

  1. Establishing Standards: It is important to establish standards and guidelines following ISO/IEC 24773 to set up an organization to accredit certification schemes. This includes clear criteria for the certification scheme, requirements for its evaluation criteria, and accreditation processes.
  2. Establishing a Governance Structure: It is also important to establish a governance structure that is responsible for the operation of the accreditation body. This includes a decision-making body, a steering committee, and an audit function. To this end, it is proposed that the new IP3 accreditation system complies with ISO/IEC 17011.
  3. International Cooperation: International cooperation is essential for the accreditation of certification schemes from different countries and regions; it is proposed to strengthen cooperation with IFIP member organizations and other stakeholders such as certification bodies, industries, and governments.
  4. Develop education and training programs: It is important to develop education and training programs for accreditation body staff and assessors. This will ensure the quality and consistency of the accreditation process.
  5. Communication with Stakeholders: When launching an accreditation body for certification schemes, it is suggested to enhance communication with relevant stakeholders. This will help to gain their understanding and support for the purpose and role of the accreditation body.

The launch of the accreditation system by IFIP IP3 aims to provide a unified approach to the accreditation and assessment of professionals in the international IT domain. The proposed initiative will serve as a foundation for the successful operation of the accreditation body and for gaining international recognition and trust.


Innovations using online technology and generative AI (LLM, large language model) are expected to contribute to the efficiency and quality improvement of the operation and evaluation process of the accreditation systems (Fig. 3). Specific innovations are introduced below.

  1. Online Education and Training: An online platform can be leveraged to provide education and training for staff and assessors of accredited institutions. This allows for flexible and efficient learning opportunities that transcend geographic constraints.
  2. Online Evaluations and Assessments: Utilizing online technology, evaluations and assessments for credentialing can be conducted remotely. This can speed up and reduce the cost of the evaluation process.
  3. Automate the examination process with Generative AI: Generative AI can be used to automate the creation of evaluation criteria and eligibility documents, analysis of eligibility applicant portfolios, and generation of examination reports. This improves the efficiency and consistency of the assessment process.
  4. AI-assisted decision-making: Generative AI can be used to assist in decision-making for accreditation; it is expected that AI data analysis and pattern recognition can be leveraged to evaluate and make recommendations relative to credentialing criteria.

Through these innovations, the IP3 accreditation system is expected to use online technology and generative AI to improve operational efficiency, the quality of the evaluation process, and the skills and knowledge of certified engineers.

Society strongly desires value creation through Digital Transformation and the development of advanced IT professionals, and IP3 believes that the accreditation system can respond to these social demands through the above-mentioned initiatives. In promoting the establishment of an ISO/IEC 24773-compliant accreditation system, many issues still need to be resolved, but we intend to steadily promote our efforts.

Title: ISO Compliance and Use of the Certified IT Professional Certification

Speaker: Naoki Nishi (Committee Chair for CITP Certification, Information Processing Society of Japan)

The CITP certification has been in operation since 2014 for individual certification and 2015 for corporate accreditation. In FY2021, CITP will newly accredit the certification system for corporate groups, including data scientist certification, to meet the needs of new technologies required for information technology professionals. In this presentation, an overview of the CITP system, expectations for the international standardization of ISO/IEC 24773, and the status of the CITP system will be described.

The CITP system of IPSJ is designed to comply with ISO/IEC 24773 and ISO/IEC 17024. In addition, the system is designed to comply with the IT Skill Standard and ITSS+, which is a standard referenced skill standard in Japan. The system also stipulates requirements related to engineer ethics with an awareness of compliance with international standards and mandates periodic renewal of certifications and continuous professional development (CPD).

By providing such a certification scheme, the objectives are (1) to increase the visibility and social status of highly skilled information technology professionals (establishment of the profession) and (2) to form a professional community in the IT domain.

The CITP system obtained accreditation by IFIP IP3 in February 2018 and renewed accreditation by IP3 in April 2023. Through this, international equivalence is ensured for the certification schemes of the accredited societies. In the meantime, improvements have been made, such as the establishment of a new data scientist certification, acceptance of holders of the professional engineer (information engineering) certification, and the issuance of digital badges.

Compared to other certification systems accredited by IP3, the CITP system has several characteristics. One of them is the combination of the individual certification system, in which the IPSJ directly examines the certifications of IT engineers, and the accreditation of corporate certification systems, in which the IPSJ accredits the private certification system operated by a company and grants the CITP certification to engineers who have obtained the private certification. Another feature of the CITP system is that it incorporates a national qualification (Information Technology Engineer Examination), which is widely used among IT engineers in Japan. In this way, the CITP system actively promotes the effective use of existing initiatives.

The introduction of the corporate accreditation system will reduce the burden of examination and expand the scale of CITP certification compared to the method in which all engineers are directly examined by the IPSJ.

At present, there are approximately 2,000 CITP-certified IT professionals. In addition, six companies have been accredited under the corporate certification system. Expanding this number further is a challenge for the future. It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 highly skilled IT professionals in Japan. Considering this situation, we can expect that it is possible to increase the number of CITP certification holders to several tens of thousands.

In designing the CITP certifications, we have tried to make them compliant with ISO/IEC 24773. However, we recognize that the scope of the new ISO/IEC 24773 is limited to Software Engineering and Systems Engineering and does not include all domains of the CITP certification.

Therefore, we hope that the new certification system that IP3 is planning to establish will be designed to include the certifications covered by the CITP system. In addition, we hope that the system will be designed to allow for higher levels of certification in specific roles and specialized fields.

Panel discussion “International Mutual Recognition Based on ISO/IEC 24773 and Its Significance

Panel Chair: Shigeaki Sakurai (Senior Fellow, Intelligent Systems Technology Center, Toshiba Corporation)

Based on the three speakers’ speeches, future directions of efforts were discussed in the panel. Various opinions were exchanged during the panel discussion.

  • Leading universities are offering recurrent education for IT professionals. In many cases, such recurrent education courses can be taken online and should be used effectively to help IT engineers acquire the latest technologies. As digital technologies such as generative AI continue to evolve rapidly, many initiatives are also beneficial as part of CPD.
  • The IEEE Computer Society provides the Software Engineer certification. Currently, the requirements of ISO/IEC 24773 are not met in some areas, such as the lack of periodic renewal of certifications, but they will work to meet these requirements in the future.
  • Efforts should also be made to expand the scope of the new ISO/IEC 24773, as SFIA and e-CF define many occupations and roles other than Software Engineers and Systems Engineers. In Japan, iCD (i Competency Dictionary) and DX Promotion Skill Standards define a variety of digital occupations. For example, it is unclear whether certifications such as data scientist and cyber security are included in the current scope. The inclusion of these occupations would expand the scope of ISO/IEC 24773 and further enhance its value.
  • Standardization, such as ISO standards, has been used for fundamental activities to ensure the safety and security of society and consumers, as well as to define basic specifications and inspection methods. Recently, however, standardization activities as part of management strategies that contribute to market creation and standardization activities to convert social demands, such as SDGs, into value are becoming increasingly important.
  • As a measure to enhance the value of the IP3 accreditation and CITP certification systems, it may be a good idea to use strategic standardization activities as described above.
  • In both the CITP certification system and the IP3 accreditation system, it is important to improve the efficiency of the examination operation. For this purpose, it may be a good idea to promote the use of generative AI and online examination.

We have received the following comments from the event participants, making it a meaningful event. We would like to continue our efforts in the future, including responding to these comments.

  • I think it is very good that an international standard has been established. I think that the challenge for the future will be how to spread these standards to as many people as possible. I would like to help in any way I can so that as many people as possible become aware of these standards.
  • I felt it was a big vision. I thought the key would be how to get more people to recognize and utilize it.
  • I had the impression that the number of certified professionals was sluggish. I thought it would be good if we could conduct activities that would push out more benefits to companies.
  • We were reminded that there are many issues from education to dissemination, and that we need to work with many stakeholders.

Code of Ethics: a solid foundation for information professionals

Information professionals have the international ‘Code of Ethics’ – adopted by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) in 2020. Member organisations can subscribe to that code, many have done that. International cooperation at its best, with participatory development, consultation, and joint decision-making. The code is a basis and guideline for methods, best practices, standards, and frameworks. The question is how this code can be deployed optimally, thus creating trust in the sector.

Code of Ethics: outcome of collaboration

IFIP’s Code of Ethics was made on the basis of good practices from various countries. An important example was the code of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM, https://www.acm.org). Professionals from the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3, https://www.ipthree.org) within IFIP developed the code under the guidance of Prof Don Gotterbarn and Dr David Kreps, then chair of IFIP TC11. Through rounds of consultations, the code was created, with maximum attention to jointly working up a code from within the international professional body. This was then adopted at the IFIP General Assembly (see: https://www.ipthree.org/ifip-code-of-ethics/). IP3 will now use this code to make the current certification scheme of IT professionals suitable as an ISO standard with, among other things, e-CF and SFIA as content framework. SFIA is the benchmark framework for IP3 accreditation.

Working together and deploying ethics

World standards often emerge from a collaborative process. For instance, project and programme managers and PMO-ers know IPMA competences, IT architects know ArchiMate and Togaf. Standards that are created and updated with groups of professionals and academics.

ISO standards also come about through broad international alignment. An example is how fellow associations from South Africa (IITPSA), Canada (CIPS), Japan (IPSJ), Australia (ACS) and Sri Lanka (CSSL) and the Netherlands (KNVI) work together within IFIP on the new section within the ISO/IEC standard for ‘computing’: ISO/IEC 24773. This is under the leadership of initiator Dr Tetsuro Kakeshitamee. The new series already has new parts 1, 3 and 4, with part 2 coming in 2024. The overall process started in 2014 – including a lot of international coordination. Besides the ‘General Requirements’ (part 1) and ‘Guidance’ (part 2), parts 3 and 4 form the core of this standard: System Engineering and Software Engineering. A special feature of this new version is the focus on ethics and on knowledge, skills, competences, and professional practice.

Also topical is the joint effort for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) application guideline. In Europe, several organisations are working together in the Artificial Intelligence Skills Alliance (ARISA) project to gain knowledge of the application of AI in public and private applications. Through IPTE, European IT associations are also involved in this development. For the KNVI, securing ethical principles is an important issue in this too: Ethics as a Service should provide ethical help in the development, use and design of AI.

Finally, a Dutch example is the Dutch Practice Guideline NPR 3414:2023, Governance on the human aspects of IT. This standard is based on the academic work of a KNVI professional and was developed together with a group of practitioners. It allows directors of organisations to take better account of human aspects in the governance of their IT. Ethical conduct is also a key ingredient in this standard.

Standards: interpretation

When looking for standards for information management, information provision and information governance, you soon can’t see the wood for the trees. The KNVI Interest Group ‘Open Standards’ provides insight based on the nine-square model, drawn up by Prof dr Rik Maes (Maes, 2003). That model can be used for interpretation and coherence of various standards for business strategy, information strategy and information provision. The model is partly intended to promote cooperation and to discuss activities within organisations. The model provides tools to place standards and help the reader (or the searching professional) to ‘focus’. At https://openstandards.nl/, anyone can consult these standards.

Standards: a triptych

Delving into standards can be done from three angles: (a) the intention of the standard to formulate ethical principles, as described above, (b) the description of skills and (c) the elaboration of related competences.

Skills – the skills of professionals come at many levels. From being able to operate IT resources, making the right call or giving a presentation to the professional skills of the senior engineer who has knowledge and experience in writing the best (software) code, clear requirements, performing an integral chain test, implementing new (software) code on the mainframe, or managing and monitoring network traffic. Just to mention a few examples. These are skills that you can partly learn from books, but only really come to life in practice by applying them, reflecting on them, and improving them. You don’t learn to swim by reading swimming instructions. When skills are put to positive use in practice, this is then referred to as having competences. The International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) of the European Union or the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) (see: https://sfia-online.org/) attempt to give a total overview of this.

Competences – Well known is the European Competence Framework (e-CF), now a CEN/NEN standard (see https://www.cencenelec.eu/areas-of-work/cen-sectors/digital-society-cen/ict-skills/). e-CF has become a standardisation environment for IT professionals with documents around the Body of Knowledge (BOK), roles, accreditations, education, and peer review. Now that it is a formal standard, this also provides more guidance for implementation. In the Netherlands, for example, by using the competences in the central government’s ICT hiring mantle, the central procurement of training courses and the translation of competences in the function description framework for civil servants.

Professional organisations in Europe play a supporting role in elaborating competences and putting their importance on the agenda. Recently, a first attempt at a European Digital Skills Certificate (EDSC) was made by the EU together with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), among others. At the basis of this is yet another framework: DigComp 2.2.

Professional Practice – keeping your craft up to date

The basic premise of competency frameworks is that it provides guidance for professionals to keep up with their profession, and develop their careers. However, the profession of information professionals is rather difficult to define from a single framework – especially as the scope of the profession is different in different countries. In the Netherlands, the IT profession and the profession of the (formerly) more generically trained documentalist, librarian and archivist are starting to overlap more and more on specific competences. As a result, the entire profession – and thus the set of competences – is becoming broader.

Skills and competences

With all these frameworks, we seem to have a solid foundation for our profession. But…there are still two snags. Points of attention.

The first is the commitment to Skills. The new European Digital Skills Certificate seems a nice addition to all competency frameworks and provides for a corresponding assessment. However, the framework addresses digital skills of citizens and of professional users of Information Technology products. But that is a bit like testing someone’s agility – and thus only one side of the coin. Think about many schoolchildren today: Very agile in using all kinds of devices, comfortable online, and quick to switch gears.  But judging whether information is correct, whether sources are accurate, whether they work safely and do not share confidential data, they must learn. The same applies to professionals. These professionals are also responsible for creating, managing, and implementing good IT.  This requires special (and increasingly specific) knowledge and experience. Multidisciplinary work requires brainpower and reflective capacity: continuous training, learning, reading, and practising to keep your profession up to date. And that is precisely the component on which the EU has little or no focus!

The second is the ethical interpretation of the work. After all, thinking skills and reflective capacity are not just about one’s own learning – or learning about learning (the ‘double loop’ – Argyris & Schön, 1978). The triptych of ethics, skills, and competences assumes third-order learning (Boonstra, 2000). Here, a frame of mind is further developed – including the ethical considerations made from that frame of mind.

Even in an international context, it is not always easy to get and keep these two points of interest high on the agenda. Perhaps because it is quite complicated to capture skills and competences in frameworks. Skills are ‘easy’. Describing professionalism is more difficult. And keeping your profession up to date and constantly examining, questioning, and even questioning the framework of thinking is a challenge!

Fortunately, the basics are good: competency frameworks like e-CF, SFIA and various ISO standards and especially the IFIP Code of Ethics. We still have a long way to go before the ICT profession is well defined and especially the skills and competences are described in such a way that everyone recognises them and continues to improve. But: we are on our way!


Authors: Wouter Bronsgeest – chairman KNVI; Liesbeth Ruoff-Van Welzen – Fellow KNVI / chairman Interest Group Digital Skills



  • Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1978). Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. Addison-Wesley.
  • Boonstra, J. (2000). Lopen over water. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
  • Bronsgeest, W.L., De Waart, S., (2020). Smart Humanity, de mens met I-0 op voorsprong, Nubiz Uitgeverij, Hilversum
  • Maes, R. (2003). Informatiemanagement in kaart gebracht, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam
  • https://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/docs/publication08.pdf
  • https://esco.ec.europa.eu/nl
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  • https://standards.iteh.ai/catalog/tc/cen/566de01a-938d-4ed2-b502-c4bebf2a1cac/cen-tc-428

Newly appointed GIC Director – Josine Overdevest

Josine Overdevest, winner of the 2023 David O’Leary award, has joined the IFIP IP3 Global Industry Council.

Josine’s vast and varied experience, as well as her dual passions for bridging the digital divide and ethics, makes her a valuable addition to the Council

Her CV, as well as a list and CV’s of others on the Council can be found here.  Her interview with GIC Chair, Stephen Ibaraki, can be found here.

The Global Industry Council is a think-tank, and provides guidance and thought leadership on important contemporary issues, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, and the strides that must be made to achieve the goals.

Josine Overdevest wins David O’Leary award

Josine Overdevest, MD of Flying Cows of Jozi, IITPSA Member; Board Director; and chair of the Social and Ethics committee, was announced at IFIPs General Assembly in Bratislava on 20 September, as the winner in 2023.

On receiving the award, Josine said “I’m very honoured to receive the David O’Leary Award, and I thank everyone who has believed in me and supported my work over the years”.

She went on to explain “I have been fascinated by the power of technology to widen or narrow divides ever since I wrote my space law thesis on the United Nations Principles on Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space in 1992. These principles aim to ensure that both remote sensing and the resulting data don’t harm but benefit the nations that don’t have own capability for these space activities. This fascination inspired my move to South Africa, after a 10-year corporate career at Dutch telco KPN. For the past twenty years I’ve contributed to bridging the digital divide especially in basic education, culminating in the establishment of Flying Cows of Jozi.

But because digital technology develops so much faster than activities to bridge the digital divide, the digital divide has unfortunately only become wider resulting in a growing shortage of the digital skills needed to underpin economic growth and job creation. And digital technology also develops much faster than the rules and regulations needed to curb, often unintentional, negative consequences, like the growing carbon footprint and e-waste, misinformation, digital divides, and human rights violations.

It is very exciting to see how much attention AI Ethics is getting worldwide and I trust that many organisations will see how much value ethics guidance will bring to all development stages, the early design stages to the ultimate implementation, of not just AI but all digital technology.

The David O’Leary Award is a wonderful encouragement for to me keep spreading the Digital Ethics gospel!”

The David O’Leary award includes a cash prize of USD1500, and travel to IFIPs General Assembly to receive the prize. The nominations were judged by a panel of four judges. Funding is facilitated by Redds Capital and provided by a Trust to be used or the award.

Moira de Roche, Chair IFIP IP3, said “Josine is everything we hope for in a winner. We received four nominations this year and hope we can increase the number in future. We accept nominations from anyone. More information can be found here.”

Don Gotterbarn, winner in 2021, who is an Ethics evangelist, and promotes professional practice around the world, received his certificate at a dinner on 19 September, because he was unable to travel until now. He stressed the importance of awards like this in getting the message across, as we must always stay vigilant to ensure that all aspects of professionalism are embedded in all products and services provided by the ICT practitioners and suppliers. He reminded us of the IFIP Code of Ethics, which is available to all as a guide to professional conduct and decision making.

If the AI routine doubts itself…

If you study the workings of a human cell, you get a fraction of the infinite possibilities and richness of human life. For example, the mitochondria that make energy from any number of elemental substances, release proteins, make viruses (yes indeed!), and co-manage the body. And that times x trillion. Your body is and always will be a miracle. And much more complex than that one seed you put in the ground that grows into a fantastic beech tree. All that knowledge is hidden in that very small chunk of life energy. Can that also be replicated with human technology? Opinions and futures on that are divided. Perhaps with huge quantum computers. For now, the shortage of electricity is still a delaying factor. If only we had listened to Nicolas Tesla.

Because our brains are simply not that fast at processing piles of information, we look in awe at all those supercomputers supporting our Artificial Intelligence facilities (or at least: the computational rules and computing power of superchips). Fast forward the current AI applications: human less vehicles for agriculture, robots wash windows and deliver parcels, X-rays can be better screened by an AI, text translation or subtitling can be done without humans in fractions of a second. The English translation of the latest KNVI book which comprises 279 pages, took less than 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, as humans, we must make do with inferior information. Our brain cannot store and retrieve everything neatly. Of course, AI applications don’t suffer from that. Although right now AI is “Incredibly Smart” and at the same time “Shockingly Stupid” according to Yejin Choi. Still, imagine if a set of AI routines did collect all this information and extract a common thread from it. Would that routine then choose self-preservation (‘I exist’), reproduction, cooperation with humans, or making this earth better? With the ultimate option that the earth could do without humans.

And: what would that routine then do with factual knowledge, for instance that we need to increase mining by 1000% (by 2024) to get enough minerals and precious metals for batteries and solar panels (even though the Energy Pay-Back Time (EPBT) of panels is debatable). Or that we dig huge pits for discarded rotor blades, get coal from Australia to keep mines open in China, and bring waste from Italy to the Netherlands to burn power stations. Or that we deforest West Papua and the Amazon for even more logging and palm oil, and the biggest gas users are the only ones paying very little tax…. Perhaps that ‘AI routine’ will even start to doubt itself if ‘it’ knows that a workout run by ChatGTP generates about 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions or to further analyse (and correct) the IPCC report. In any case, Geoffrey Hinton and Mo Gawdat have serious concerns about what these AI routines have in store for us. And we as information professionals? Soon to be hired as AI routines too perhaps. Might cost a bit of energy and a bit of CO2 emissions, but then you have something.

Written by Wouter Bronsgeest, IFIP Councillor

Broader and Deeper

Broader and deeper

Just when I am getting a bit tired of ChatGPT messages, another one comes along that attracts attention. A nice experience that ChatGPT asks a ‘human’ to help overcome the Captcha step, because the routine can’t do it itself (yet). I am not a robot. An AI routine that can take the next step in controlling humans. Not that I’m worried right now, but there will come a time when AI routines generates reports on how you and I behaved at work, in the supermarket or on the street. ‘You ran the red light – will you please respect traffic rules from now on?’  Instant feedback for you and the supervisor.

At the mid-April board meeting of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), the president reiterated what a great responsibility we have as information professionals. Technology is neutral – in the application we see whether it is applied well or not. An ethical discussion, increasingly in the realm of information professionals. Monitoring and controlling employees is a first step – some organisations are already thinking about implementing this. Using a chip in your arm to keep your diabetes under control? Gladly, that’s an existing application. Using that same chip to have your stress level adjusted by your employer? So that you perform better? It is already possible, but we do not (yet) want it – artists and theatre makers such as the Belgian Lucas de Man and Dutch Isil Vos incorporate it in their presentations for various organisations. And that produces beautiful and confrontational conversations.

The beauty of AI is also that you can use it to fathom very large data sets. Provided you give the routine the right parameters. Great for a Parliamentary Inquiry, where many thousands of e-mails and documents are delivered these days. Fine also for analyses on documents dumped in our public domain, such as the Panama Papers and the UK government’s Lockdown/corona files on their decision-making process, the Pfizer papers or the European eID database that also has a ‘criminal’ variant. You have probably seen the news reports on these?

So, the information professional’s profession is only getting broader and deeper. From ICT to information management to truth-telling to ethics. What amazing times we live in! Disruptive, accelerating and … very exciting.

Wouter Bronsgeest

(President KNVI)




Ethics – the cornerstone of IT professional practice, and an essential ingredient for trust in digital

On Global Ethics Day 2022, I reflect on progress made with embedding ethical conduct and decision-making into everything to do with the development and provision of IT and Digital products and services, and its wider application in business.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of trust is “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.” We should also consider a definition of “Duty of Care” – Professional standard of care. The ethical or legal duty of a professional to exercise the level of care, diligence, and skill prescribed in the code of practice (or ethics) of his or her profession, or as other professionals in the same discipline would in the same or similar circumstances.

Digital transformation affects every aspect of our lives.  When trust in digital products and services is eroded it affects the economy and hinders the provision of digital services to citizens.

We must get to a point where every activity is considered through an ethical lens – and the end goal is to make this second nature, or put another way, an “unconscious competence”. We like to say ethical behaviour must be “operationalized” in an organization.

Some member bodies have Ethics Exams. This is a good idea to ensure that people understand what ethics is, and where applicable, the stipulations of the relevant code of ethics – but this does not ensure that ethical behaviour is entrenched.

Examples of unethical behaviour and the consequences abound, with an emphasis on ethics relating to innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. This is all well and good, but I worry that it detracts from the necessity for ethical rigour to be embedded into the development and deployment of all digital (IT) services.

Data governance is frequently considered but mostly in relation to AI – whereas data governance relates to organizational governance and is important for all data. Organizational reports on, for example, sustainability, must be assured. This is only possible with rigorous data practices. The governance of ethics is recognised by organizations as an essential component to deliver value to their stakeholders.  Devon Duffield, head of Audit for KPMG South Africa, says “The best thing that board directors can do for themselves, and their companies, is to have an equal commitment to developing a corporate culture with strong ethical values, as they do to planning and strategizing the company’s future. “

“Information systems embracing digital technologies should serve the needs and interests of the people who design and use them, and this may in the end curtail their pure computational efficiency.  Take the case of self-driving vehicles: perennially available ‘next year’ these autonomous devices cannot safely co-exist with the all too human world of ‘the street’ and continue to be indefinitely deferred.  The lesson here is that the governance of data and systems by humans, rather than by algorithms, may be the limit that we must place upon them” – David Kreps, Chair IFIP TC9.

The International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) launched a Code of Ethics in 2020. The ACM Code of Ethics was used as the foundation for this code, which was finalised after consultation with members globally, to ensure that it was applicable everywhere. IFIP encourages its member societies to adopt this code – with or without amendments. Similarly, we would like to see any organization or government to implement this code for their IT employees. IFIP offers consultancy services to help organizations operationalize the code.

We must acknowledge that a code of ethics, in contrast to a code of conduct, is qualitative. This makes it difficult to measure and is why it must be part of the corporate culture, with executives setting the tone from the top.

How do we create a more ethical society? Well, I believe that if I am ethical and encourage one other person to be the same, and they in turn influence the behaviour of one other person, then it is achievable. But it starts with you!

Moira de Roche, IFIP Vice-President, Chair IP3

The “Monster” that is threatening global destruction can transform into the world’s saviour.

Eliezer Manor, one of the authors of the white paper “Coping with the Monster” offers this introduction.

This White Paper suggests a practical approach to enabling the 17 SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) published by the UN.

Modern technology is threatening the future and very existence of Planet Earth! The exponential growth of modern technology’s products, which have become ubiquitous and superabundant the world over, is leading to the whirlwind destruction and draining of Nature’s resources while byproducts and waste are piling up at an unfathomable rate.

The hi-tech sector is what is driving this exponential growth of modern technology,  so it may be said that the hi-tech sector represents the main factor standing behind the damage Earth is suffering, not least of which is climate change, a phenomenon that is threatening the future and survival of all life on earth, not to mention the very existence of Planet Earth itself.

The conception proposed by the White Paper was inspired by the actions of Alfred Nobel, who, about 150 years ago, decided to dedicate the profits he had earned from the product he invented whose goal was to destroy (i.e., TNT) to create an institution to reward individuals who promoted science, culture, and peace.  In other words, we believe that the “Monster” that is threatening global destruction can transform into the world’s savior.

The “Monster” is hi-tech. This White Paper proposes a practical, achievable way to mobilize the entire global hi-tech community to cope with the adverse results of modern technology on the environment. 

Certification and Education on Data Science

This event Strategic Collaboration of Certification and Education on Data Science was held as one of a series of #ifip60 events.

The relevant activities related to certification and education on data science were discussed in this session.  At the end of the session, the audience could understand the entire picture of various efforts in this domain.  IFIP IP3 and the panelists seek possibilities of mutual collaboration such as college-level education and certification for data scientists.  Online education and telework, which are widely utilized since the COVID-19 pandemic, will be effectively utilized to promote collaboration as well as other digital technologies.

The presentations and supporting documentation can be found here.