In a press release on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres unveiled the establishment of a 39-member advisory committee tasked with addressing critical concerns surrounding the international governance of artificial intelligence (AI).
The advisory body comprises a diverse membership that includes executives from prominent technology companies, government officials representing countries from Spain to Saudi Arabia, and academics hailing from nations like the United States, Russia, and Japan, per Reuters.
Among the notable tech executives are Hiroaki Kitano, the Chief Technology Officer of Sony, Mira Murati, Chief Technology Officer of OpenAI, and Natasha Crampton, Chief Responsible AI Officer at Microsoft. The committee is further characterized by its wide geographical representation, spanning six continents, and diverse backgrounds, featuring experts like Vilas Dhar from the United States and Professor Yi Zeng from China, alongside Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Farahat.
Guterres, in his statement, emphasized the profound potential of AI for positive transformation but also noted the existing risks associated with its malicious use. He expressed concern that AI’s misuse could erode trust in institutions, weaken social cohesion, and even threaten the foundations of democracy.
The rise of AI technologies, epitomized by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has captured global attention over the past year. This surge in interest has raised alarms among AI researchers who have highlighted the potential societal risks associated with unchecked AI proliferation. In response, various governments worldwide have initiated efforts to formulate regulatory frameworks to manage the widespread adoption of AI. Simultaneously, both researchers and lawmakers have been advocating for global cooperation to effectively address the challenges posed by AI.
The newly formed United Nations advisory body is set to play a pivotal role in this endeavor. It has committed to releasing preliminary recommendations by the end of this year, with a comprehensive set of recommendations expected to be delivered by the summer of 2024. This initiative reflects the international community’s recognition of the need to collaboratively navigate the complex landscape of AI governance and harness the technology’s benefits while mitigating potential risks.