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Regulating AI: Urgent Call For UN Officials at Security Council Session

UN calls for urgent AI regulation, emphasizing global collaboration and strict governance in a Security Council Session

Updated: August 10, 2023

For the first time, the UN Security Council has held a session on the potential threats Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses to global peace and stability.

The meeting was called in light of Secretary-General António Guterres. It’s an alarm about AI’s possible misuse by criminals and terrorists, causing extensive damage on an unprecedented scale.

AI, with its advanced capabilities and rapid growth, presents a clear and present danger in the hands of malicious actors.

The potential for disinformation and manipulation using AI technologies, such as ChatGPT, is particularly concerning.

This advanced AI, launched last year, can generate texts, mimic voices, and create media such as images and videos.

The potential misuse of such a tool has raised many fears about its role in spreading false information.

Raising the Alarm: AI in Disinformation

UN Council Meeting

The Security Council’s session brought together diplomats. Also, the leading AI experts to discuss this emerging technology’s risks, threats, and potential benefits.

Notably, Jack Clark, the co-founder of AI safety research company Anthropic, raised concerns about the current approach to AI development.

He compared it to “building engines without understanding the science of combustion,” highlighting the need for a deeper understanding of AI.

To address this, Guterres proposed the establishment of a UN watchdog to act as a governing body for AI.

Drawing parallels with agencies that oversee aviation, climate, and nuclear energy. He suggested this new body could regulate, monitor, and enforce AI regulations.

This watchdog would comprise experts in the field. The role would be to share their insights with governments and administrative bodies that may lack the technical knowledge to tackle AI threats.

There was broad agreement among most diplomats that a global governing mechanism and international rules for AI are necessary.

Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, said, “No country will be untouched by AI.” Therefore, the need for widespread collaboration and involvement from all sectors is important.

However, not all were in favor of global regulations.

Russia expressed skepticism about the extent of our understanding of AI risks. While China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, resisted the creation of a rigid set of global laws.

Despite this, Zhang did affirm China’s opposition to using AI to establish military dominance or undermine the sovereignty of other countries.

Concerns Over Military Use of AI

The discussion also touched on the military use of AI. It has notable instances such as Israel’s satellite-controlled AI robot used for assassinations.

Guterres emphasized the need for a legally binding agreement by 2026 to ban the use of AI in automated weapons of war.

The director of AI at the University of Chicago’s Data Science Institute, Prof. Rebecca Willett, highlighted the importance of keeping the human element in sight when dealing with AI.

Since AI systems are not autonomous, the individuals and organizations behind their design must be held accountable for potential misuse.

It underlines the need for international repercussions. It ensures a company in one country can’t wreak havoc in another without facing the consequences.

In Conclusion

The challenges posed by AI development underscore the need for robust global collaboration, stringent regulation, and individual accountability. 

As we continue to navigate the complexities of AI, we must strive for a balance where AI can benefit humanity without compromising peace and stability.

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