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UN Secretary-General calls for AI watchdog

"Alarm bells over the latest form of artificial intelligence (AI) — generative AI — are deafening, and they are loudest from the developers who designed it," Guterres said

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed the intention to create a high-level advisory body on artificial intelligence at a press briefing on information integrity on digital platforms in New York on June 12, 2023.

"New technology is moving at warp speed, and so are the threats that come with it. Alarm bells over the latest form of artificial intelligence (AI) — generative AI — are deafening, and they are loudest from the developers who designed it," Guterres said highlighting the need for urgent control measures.

The UN Secretary-General emphasized that the scientists’ and experts’ declaration of AI as an existential threat to humanity with the risk of nuclear war should be considered on a serious note. Mentioning that the proposed Global Digital Compact, New Agenda for Peace, and Accord on the global governance of AI will offer multilateral solutions based on human rights, he added that the advent of generative AI should not distract from the damage digital technology is imposing already.

"I am going to appoint, in the next few days, a scientific advisory board that includes many experts from outside, including two experts on artificial intelligence and the chief scientists of UN agencies, namely ITU and UNESCO, that have been very active in this regard," Guterres announced.

Noting that AI has enormous potential, the UN Secretary-General stressed that there is a need to ensure that the future evolution of AI does not go into the logic that completely abolishes human agency and results in a monster that nobody can control.

Briefing about the UN Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms in development, Guterres maintained that tech companies should move away from damaging business models that prioritize engagement above human rights, privacy, and safety.

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