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UN Will Vote On Its First Resolution To Promote Safe Use Of AI

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield addresses a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP)

The General Assembly is set to vote Thursday on what would be the first United Nations resolution on artificial intelligence, aimed at ensuring the powerful new technology benefits all nations, respects human rights and is “safe, secure and trustworthy.” The United States, which sponsored the resolution, has said it hopes the world body will adopt it by consensus, meaning it would have the support of all 193 UN member nations.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that if the resolution is adopted it will be a “historic step forward” in fostering the safe use of AI. The resolution “would represent global support for a baseline set of principles for the development and use of AI and would lay out a path to leverage AI systems for good while managing the risks,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press earlier in March.

The draft resolution aims to close the digital divide between rich developed countries and poorer developing countries and make sure they are all at the table in discussions on AI. It also aims to make sure that developing countries have the technology and capabilities to take advantage of AI’s benefits, including detecting diseases, predicting floods, helping farmers, and training the next generation of workers.

The draft recognizes the rapid acceleration of AI development and use and stresses “the urgency of achieving global consensus on safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems.” It also recognizes that “the governance of artificial intelligence systems is an evolving area” that needs further discussions on possible governance approaches.

Big tech companies generally have supported the need to regulate AI, while lobbying to ensure any rules work in their favor.

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European Union lawmakers gave final approval on March 13 to the world’s first comprehensive AI rules, which are on track to take effect by May or June after a few final formalities.

Countries around the world, including the US and China, and the Group of 20 major industrialized nations are also moving to draw up AI regulations. And the draft resolution takes note of other UN efforts, including by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the International Telecommunication Union to ensure that AI is used to benefit the world.

Sullivan told AP the United States turned to the General Assembly “to have a truly global conversation on how to manage the implications of the fast-advancing technology of AI.”

Source : AP