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UN General Assembly takes first step in global AI governance

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In a landmark move, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed the first-ever global resolution on artificial intelligence (AI) on Thursday. The resolution aims to advocate for the protection of personal data, the monitoring of AI risks, and the safeguarding of human rights, according to U.S. officials. Proposed by the United States and backed by 121 other nations, including China, the nonbinding resolution took three months of negotiation to finalize. It also emphasizes the importance of strengthening privacy policies, as highlighted by officials who briefed reporters ahead of the resolution’s adoption, Reuters reported.

UN General Assembly takes first step in global AI governance

Senior administration officials underscored the significance of the resolution, labeling it as the “first-ever truly global consensus document on AI.” They emphasized the necessity of aligning technological advancements with fundamental values amidst the rapid changes in technology. This resolution is part of a broader global effort by governments to shape the development of AI technologies. Concerns have been raised regarding AI’s potential to disrupt democratic processes, facilitate fraud, and lead to significant job displacement.

In a separate initiative last November, the U.S., Britain, and several other countries unveiled the first detailed international agreement aimed at ensuring the safety of AI systems. This agreement advocated for the creation of AI systems that prioritize security from their inception. Meanwhile, Europe has taken steps ahead of the United States in regulating AI, with EU lawmakers recently adopting a provisional agreement to oversee the technology. This move brings them closer to implementing the world’s first set of artificial intelligence regulations.

The adoption of this resolution marks a significant milestone in global efforts to promote the responsible and ethical use of AI. It underscores the importance of upholding human rights in the design, development, deployment, and utilization of AI systems. The resolution also acknowledges the potential of AI systems to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It calls upon all Member States and stakeholders to refrain from using AI systems that violate international human rights laws or pose undue risks to human rights.

Furthermore, the General Assembly’s call for collaboration extends to various stakeholders, including states, the private sector, civil society, research organizations, and the media. This collaborative effort is essential in developing comprehensive regulatory frameworks that effectively ensure the safe, secure, and trustworthy use of AI technologies. Involving states allows for the implementation of legal frameworks and policies at the national level to govern the deployment and operation of AI systems.

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