March 5, 2024

UN launches international effort to tackle AI governance challenges

The list of participants includes tech industry leaders, government representatives from Spain to Saudi Arabia, and scholars from the U.S., Russia, and Japan.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, revealed the establishment of a 39-member advisory committee aimed at tackling matters related to the global regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), on Thursday, Oct. 26.

According to the announcement, the roster comprises individuals ranging from tech industry leaders, government representatives spanning from Spain to Saudi Arabia, and scholars hailing from nations like the United States, Russia, and Japan. Executives from prominent technology companies include Hiroaki Kitano, who holds the position of chief technology officer (CTO) at Sony, Mira Murati, CTO of OpenAI, and Natasha Crampton, chief responsible AI officer at Microsoft.

Additionally, the representatives hail from six continents and possess diverse backgrounds, spanning from Vilas Dhar, an AI expert based in the United States, to Professor Yi Zeng from China, and Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Farahat.

“The profound positive impact of AI is challenging to fully comprehend,” Guterres said in an official statement. He further emphasized,

“And without entering into a host of doomsday scenarios, it is already clear that the malicious use of AI could undermine trust in institutions, weaken social cohesion and threaten democracy itself,”

Following OpenAI’s introduction of ChatGPT last year, curiosity and attention around this innovative technology have grown on a global scale, prompting AI researchers to express apprehension regarding its societal implications. Concurrently, numerous governments are actively engaged in crafting legislation to oversee the proliferation of AI, provoking calls from researchers and policymakers for enhanced international cooperation.

Related: How Google’s AI legal protections can change art and copyright protections

The United Nations organization plans to release initial suggestions by year-end, with comprehensive recommendations scheduled for the summer of 2024. The UN said the immediate priorities involve establishing a worldwide scientific consensus on potential AI-related risks and challenges while enhancing global collaboration in AI governance. The group’s inaugural meeting is slated for Oct. 27.

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