AI Resolution by the United Nations

United Nations AI Resolution

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Historically, artificial intelligence has been unregulated and free to grow without constraint. Despite its numerous benefits, many have expressed concerns about this emerging technology’s potential risk. 

Recognising the intersection between AI and human rights, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has taken an extraordinary step towards the governance of AI.

The United States has led the creation of a ground-breaking draft resolution that urges nations to emphasise human rights in AI design, development, deployment, and use. Gaining the support of over 120 Member States, this landmark resolution is the first to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Establishing a link between AI and human rights, the UN has urged all Member States and stakeholders to refrain from using AI systems that pose potential risks to human rights or are out of alignment with international human rights law. Furthermore, the resolution emphasises that online rights should remain consistent with those offline. 

It pertains to deploying, using, and developing AI systems, setting the foundation for a human-centric approach to AI.

The Groundwork for Regulatory Approaches

Regulating AI is a vast and challenging task that requires the cooperation of various stakeholders. The United Nations General Assembly has acknowledged this and urged states, the private sector, civil society, research organisations, and the media to develop and support a comprehensive framework for its safe, secure, and trustworthy use. 

Such a multi-stakeholder approach can ensure the technology adheres to agreed-upon standards and guidelines.

Addressing Equitable Access and Digital Division 

The resolution acknowledges the widespread disparity between and within nations regarding technological progress. It is well-documented that developing nations face exceptional challenges while trying to match the rapid pace of innovation. 

The Assembly urges stakeholders and Member States to cooperate with developing nations to bridge the digital divide. It aims for equitable access, enhanced digital literacy, and an inclusive digital society.

Foundation for Future Discussions on AI

Praising the dialogue that led to this resolution, US Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed optimism that it may serve as a stepping stone for upcoming discussions. 

These could involve intricate AI-related topics, such as peace, security, and considerations around responsible military use of AI autonomy.

The Global AI Resolution Commands Unanimous Support

The proposed nonbinding resolution has been backed unanimously by all 193 United Nations General Assembly members.

It urges protecting personal data, monitoring AI for potential risks, safeguarding human rights, and strengthening privacy policies. It is a step towards a more regulated and responsible use of AI technology worldwide.

The Resolution’s Key Stipulations

The resolution document, which spans eight pages, argues for AI systems that are safe, secure, trustworthy, and respect human rights. The paper contains various constructive proposals, such as advocating for public awareness of AI’s benefits and potential risks, bolstering investments in AI research, and committing to transparency in AI protocols. 

It seeks to address bias in AI algorithms while promoting diversity in AI datasets. Recommendations also include urging the creation of national policies and safeguards for ethical AI deployment and usage.

Establishing a Comprehensive Vision for AI

According to the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, the resolution lays down a holistic vision for international cooperation on AI. It seems to underscore an international commitment to managing AI risks, safekeeping privacy, averting misuse, and mitigating bias and discrimination caused by AI.

The Resolution Intends to Augment Existing Work

This landmark resolution is set up to supplement and magnify the work already carried out by various UN bodies. It aims to complement future UN initiatives such as discussions towards a global digital compact and the work of the Secretary-General’s high-level advisory body on AI.

The Importance of Governing AI

The rise of AI technology presents a significant opportunity and responsibility for the global community. It can be unanimously agreed that humanity must govern this technology rather than the technology governing us. The commitment to closing the digital divide and using AI to progress shared sustainable development priorities reaffirms this belief.

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