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The UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a recent call to the regulators and stakeholders urging the urgency to harness artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly. The UN leader admitted that though AI offers numerous opportunities, only a handful of firms and countries would have the expertise in the technology. 

UN Secretary-General Unveils Global Advisory Body on AI’s Governance

The Secretary-General admitted while unveiling a global advisory body to oversee AI’s governance. Guterres challenged the 39-member team that the emergent robot sidekick demands urgency in governance clarity.

Guterres illustrated that artificial intelligence has the potential to power humanity to realize extraordinary progress while overcoming challenging experiences. Besides predicting and resolving crises, AI harbors the potential to expedite the rollout of public health and education services. In particular, the UN Secretary-General observed that AI could amplify the government’s deliveries, civil society reach, and the United Nations coverage. 

Guterres observes that AI has inherent potential to expand the scope of climate action towards accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Its unlimited potential would facilitate interconnected objectives adopted in 2015 and targeted to serve as the shared blueprint to realize peace and prosperity for individuals and the planet. 

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AI technology has the potential to outperform outdated technologies in better serving the population. AI is suited to become the enabler and accelerator of addressing the needs that are now bigger.

Guterres pegs hopes of the world harnessing the benefits attributed to AI in the 39-member governance body tasked with advisory duties towards minimizing the risks. However, responsible harnessing of AI is mandatory while ensuring its accessibility to everyone. The accessibility should include the developing world that needs AI’s benefits the most. 

UN Secretary-General Warns Against Centralization Risks in Artificial Intelligence

Guterres acknowledged that AI-powered systems may suffer from centralization risks in blockchains. He warned that AI expertise is now a concentrated skill available to a handful of entities and countries. 

Guterres warns that increasing AI expertise in a few regions, companies, and countries can potentially deepen global inequalities. Such an outcome could convert the digital divisions into chasms. 

The UN chief expressed concerns regarding the misinformation and disinformation possible through AI, particularly the deep fakes. AI heightens surveillance to the extent of invading one’s privacy. AI has the potential to aid fraud besides contravening other human rights.

 A prominent development that brought concerns regarding AI is the unveiling of ChatGPT by Microsoft-based OpenAI. The Sam Altman tech company is credited with rolling out a breakthrough product that redefined AI utilization worldwide. 

Since its unveiling in 2022, ChatGPT portrays a unique, easy-to-use tool capable of replacing humans. ChatGPT model proved an explosive tool that opened up new attack vectors, including creating fake press releases, social-engineered attacks, and phishing emails. 

UN Prioritize Harnessing AI Benefits Responsibly to Avert Doomsday Scenarios

Guterres observed AI use in generating deepfakes is facilitating the spread of hate and misinformation across social media. The UN chief echoed the June report on the need for global governance to avert plunging the world into doomsday scenarios.

Guterres restated that even without entering the doomsday content, it is evident that the malicious utilization of AI has the potential to undermine the trust that parties and people have in institutions. Also, malicious usage could erode social cohesion. Weaker cohesion could eliminate the structure supporting democracy.

Guterres restated that the primary objective of the newly formed 39-member governance group is offering preliminary recommendations to avert plunging the world into doomsday scenarios. Also, it is mandated to optimize the leapfrog moments by the end of 2023. 

Gutteres believes that the suggestions by the advisory group will be refined before the September 2024 Summit of the Future. UN joins other parties seeking to reign the dangers attributed to artificial intelligence usage and misuse.

OpenAI, in a September publication, admitted awareness of harmful consequences arising from improper utilization of ChatGPT. The accomplishment of safe and ethical utilization of AI models is mandatory.

OpenAI suggested creating a red team to avert adverse consequences from improper utilization of ChatGPT. Also, the Altman-led OpenAI seeks to enforce ethical usage of AI through the enforcement team drawing experts from computer science, cybersecurity, healthcare, cognitive, and economics. 

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Michael Scott

By Michael Scott

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