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#166 What is ISO 42001 AI Management?


There’s no escaping it, AI is here to stay. Over the course of 2023 we’ve seen more general and public use of popular AI tools such as ChatGPT and Gemini (previously Google Bard).

It’s now even being integrated into everyday applications such as Microsoft Word and Teams. There is no doubt that there are a lot of benefits to using AI, however, with new technology comes new risks.

So how do we address the growing concerns around AI development and use? That’s where the new Standard for AI Management Systems, ISO 42001 comes in!

Join Mel this week as she explains exactly what ISO 42001 is, who it’s applicable to, why it was created and how ISO 42001 can help businesses manage AI risks.

You’ll learn

  • What ISO 42001 AI Management Systems is
  • Who it’s applicable to
  • Why it was created
  • How ISO 42001 can help businesses manage AI risks


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] Join the isologyhub – To get access to a suite of ISO related tools, training and templates. Simply head on over to to either sign-up or book a demo.

[02:05] Episode summary: Today we’re touching on a very topical subject – AI, and more specifically the brand new AI Management System Standard – IS0 42001. We’ll also be exploring who it’s applicable to, why it was created and how it can help businesses manage AI risks.

[03:30] What is AI? – AI – otherwise known as Artificial intelligence, as it’s most simplest description is the science of making machines think like humans.

We’ve seen a lot of AI tools be released to the public over the last year or so, tools such as ChatGPT and Google Bard. It’s already being integrated with some of the most commonly used apps and programs like Microsoft word and Teams.

In short, AI integration is here to stay, so we may as well get to grips with it and make sure we’re using it responsibly.

[05:10] What is ISO 42001? – , ISO 42001 is the first International Standard for Artificial Intelligence Management Systems, designed to help organisations implement, maintain, and improve AI management practices.

It was jointly published in December 2023 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

The emphasis of ISO 42001 is on integrating an AI Management System with an organisations existing management system – i.e. ISO 9001 or ISO 27001 compliant management systems.

Interestingly, a lot of the specific mentions of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are within the Annexes rather than the body of the Standard. The Standard itself is very similar to ISO 27001 in that it’s mostly about what organisations should be doing to manage computer systems regardless of any AI components.

[08:00] The 4 Annexes of ISO 42001:

Annex A: This acts as a Management guide for AI system development, with a focus on trustworthiness.

Annex B: This provides implementation guidance for AI controls, with specific measures for Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning – if you’d like to learn more about the difference between the two, go back and listen to episode 135.

Annex C: Which addresses AI-related organisational objectives and risk sources.

Annex D: This one is about the domains and sectors in which an AI system may be used. It also addresses certification, and we’re pleased to see that it actively encourages the use of third-party conformity assessment. This just ensures that your AI claims have more validity.

[09:15] Who is ISO 42001 applicable to? – Those annex descriptions may have you assuming that this Standard is only applicable to organisations developing AI technology but in actuality it’s applicable to any organisation who is involved in developing, deploying OR Using AI systems.

So if you’re a company who is only utilising AI in your day to day activities, it’s still very much applicable to you!

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[12:25] Why was ISO 42001 created?:

  • To address the unprecedented rapid growth of AI and all the risks that come with this new technology.
  • To ensure that AI development and use are trustworthy and above all, ethical.
  • The public are also reasonably wary of this new technology, so ISO 42001 aims to help build more public trust and confidence in the future use of AI .
  • ISO 42001 acts as guidance for organisations on exactly how to integrate AI Management controls with their existing systems.

[14:05] AI risks you should be aware of – This isn’t an exhaustive list, as the technology develops, more risks will become known. However, as of the start of 2024, you should be aware of:

Inaccurate information – Many of the chat bots and public AI tools are trained on publicly available information, and as we all know, not everything on the internet is true. So the output from these chat bots will need to be checked and verified by a person before being used or published.

AI bias – Studies have proven that AI results can still be bias. As all the data fed into it is all based on existing information, it still presents the issue of a lack of information from underrepresented groups, or existing bias based on existing data.

Time sensitivity – Not all AI use live data sets. Google Bard does, however Chat GPT is only accurate up until 2021. So double check whichever tool you’re using to make sure the information it produces is up-to-date.

Plagiarism – Data gathered using AI came from somewhere! If you simply copy and paste information provided by AI platforms, there’s a chance you may be plagiarising existing content. Be sure to just use AI as a starting point!

Security risks – Use of AI can expose you to additional security risks, For example, malicious actors could send someone an email with a hidden prompt injection in it. If the receiver happened to use an AI virtual assistant, the attacker might be able to manipulate it into sending the attacker personal information from the victim’s emails.

Data Poisoning – AI uses large data sets to train its models, and we currently rely on these data sets being relatively accurate. However, researchers have found that it’s possible to poison data sets – so in future, AI may not be very reliable if preventative measures aren’t put in place by AI developers.

[17:45] How can ISO 42001 help business manage these risks? – Above all, it provides a structured approach to identify, assess, and mitigate AI risks. ISO 42001 includes the guidance needed to put this in place from the start to ensure you don’t fall prey to the risks mentioned, with a view to monitor and update to address new risks in future.

It promotes transparency and accountability throughout the AI life cycle.

It helps ensure fairness, non-discrimination, and respect for human rights in AI development and deployment.

It will help minimise potential legal and ethical liabilities associated with AI. The UK’s current GDPR and Data Protection Act can loosely cover aspects of AI, depending on how the terminology is applied, but there are already dedicated AI based regulations being developed within the EU which will likely be adopted by the UK. 

It can foster innovation and accelerate adoption of responsible AI practices.

And lastly, it provides a common language and framework for collaboration on AI projects.

[21:35] Don’t miss out on our ISO 42001 webinar – We’re partnering with PJR to bring you a 2-part webinar series on ISO 42001. Catch the first part on the 5th March 2024 at 3pm GMT, register your interest here.

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