“I am convening a high-level AI advisory council. It will present solutions for a global governance of AI within the year”. The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, announces the move by the United Nations to curb a technology which, he admits, “has already shown that it can do a lot, but I am convinced that what we have seen so far (of its potential, ed.) is only the beginning. It is the first time that the UN has discussed artificial intelligence. And she does it by bringing with her months of discussions about AI. Potential, risks, even direct threats to all of humanity. And it all stems from the publication of ChatGpt, which made the world understand "the potential of this technology," said Guterres.
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“It reached hundreds of millions of people in just a few months. It is estimated that by 2030 AI-based technologies will generate between 10 and 15 trillion dollars,” he added. But these potentialities, “capable of incredibly accelerating global development”, hide a gray area that alarms the United Nations: “Not even its designers know where AI can go. What we are seeing is just the beginning. And we know that these technologies can increase the level of disinformation, create dangerous technologies such as deepfakes, or manipulate messages, ideas, words said by people, increasing the risk of discrimination and threats to minorities".
Fears for military applications: AI and terrorism
In addition to this, what scares the United Nations are the possible military applications of AI-based technologies. “The use of weapons based on artificial intelligence systems represents a risk for humanity, like the atomic bomb. As well as the uses that terrorist organizations can make of these technologies”. For this you need rules. And they serve right away.
Guterres therefore proposed a series of norms that follow three principles: the first, respect for humanitarian laws; the second, an agreement on the use of AI in the military sphere; the third, global rules for the control of data-driven technologies for the control of terrorist activities. Discussions that will all have to be addressed in the coming months. And for which Great Britain, which not surprisingly has presided over the UN Security Council in recent months, wants to play a fundamental role.
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London wants to become the center of discussion on AI
For months now, London has been proposing itself as the venue for future negotiations on AI. He was the first to warn of the risks of AI, destined to reshape entire sectors of the global economy, the world of work, the quality and quantity of work available. Fears that have found a safe shore in Guterres. Last month, the Secretary-General backed the proposal of some managers of companies working on artificial intelligence solutions to create an international IA supervisory body such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Among these too Sam Altmanthe founder of OpenAi, the company that launched ChatGpt.
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Even the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, backed the idea and said he wants Britain to be the seat of global AI safety regulation. Important openings have come from parts of China, which however has stressed the need for the rules on AI to be decided above all in an anti-terrorism and military key. While among the experts summoned, Jack Clark, co-founder of Anthropic, admitted: “It is true that some artificial intelligences do things that not even those who designed them imagined. And it is also true that so far all the things that have surprised are generally positive. But it doesn't always mean that it will be like this”, reaffirming a line that companies in the sector have been reiterating for some time: we need rules that are valid everywhere for everyone, because AI has no borders.