UN passes ‘monumental’ resolution on ensuring safety and trustworthiness of AI

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a significant draft resolution on the potential of regulated artificial intelligence (AI) systems for sustainable and inclusive global development. This marks the first time the UN has taken steps to regulate AI. Led by the United States, the non-binding resolution aims to address the digital divide by encouraging member states, private sector entities, civil society groups, research organizations, and the media to develop and support regulations and governance frameworks for safe, secure, and trustworthy AI systems. The resolution comes in response to concerns voiced by UN Secretary General António Guterres regarding the unregulated development of AI and its potential risks to human rights and privacy. The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, emphasized the need for governing AI technology and ensuring it respects humanity, dignity, safety, security, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. The resolution also calls for action to bridge digital inequalities, such as raising public awareness, promoting media literacy, and developing AI systems that preserve diversity and multilingualism. It encourages countries to refrain from using AI systems that pose risks to human rights and emphasizes the protection of offline rights online. The resolution also acknowledges the importance of ongoing discussion on AI governance to align international regulation with AI advancements. Additionally, the resolution encourages specialized UN agencies and programs to continually assess and enhance their response to AI systems in a collaborative and inclusive manner. The aim is for this resolution to serve as a model for future discussions on AI challenges in different areas, including peace and security and responsible military use. Secretary General Guterres also highlighted the significance of addressing power disparities in the international system to effectively address AI challenges and emphasized the need for a reformed, inclusive, and networked multilateralism to prevent further fragmentation and ensure global governance.

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