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United Nations creates advisory body to address AI governance

STOCKHOLM: The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday (Oct 26) announced the creation of a 39-member advisory body to address issues in the international governance of artificial intelligence.

Members include tech company executives, government officials from Spain to Saudi Arabia, and academics from countries such as the US, Russia and Japan.

Sony Chief Technology Officer Hiroaki Kitano, OpenAI CTO Mira Murati and Microsoft Chief Responsible AI Officer Natasha Crampton are among the executives representing technology companies.

Representatives also come from six continents with diverse backgrounds ranging from US-based AI expert Vilas Dhar to Professor Yi Zeng from China and Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Farahat.

“The transformative potential of AI for good is difficult even to grasp,” Guterres said in a statement.

“And without entering into a host of doomsday scenarios, it is already clear that the malicious use of AI could undermine trust in institutions, weaken social cohesion and threaten democracy itself,” he said.

Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT last year, interest in the new technology has spread across the world, leading AI researchers to raise concerns about “risks to society”.

While many governments are working to formulate laws to regulate the spread of AI, researchers and lawmakers have called for global collaboration.

The UN body will issue preliminary recommendations by the end of this year and final recommendations by the summer of 2024.

The immediate tasks include building a global scientific consensus on risks and challenges, and strengthening international cooperation on AI governance, the UN said.

The first meeting of the body will take place on Oct 27.

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