AI Finally Gets Security Council’s Attention

The fifteen-member United Nations Security Council sat on Tuesday to talk about Artificial Intelligence. This was the first time we find the UN discussing AI. In fact, it’s the first time a multi-regional conference has been held about the mounting concerns of this powerful technology. 

AI is about to become “a runaway horse”, according to Chinese delegates. “We need to set common goals and values”. But the Americans also warned against AI’s use to censor or repress and the British, who chaired the meeting, chipped in by remarking that AI will “fundamentally alter every aspect of life”.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres wants a new UN agency be created to  “support collective efforts to govern this extraordinary technology”. Many UN members have already proposed the idea.

UN to Create Separate Agency?

Such an agency would seem inevitable because there is equal need to explore opportunities and dangers with shared interest. The UN already has various models on which to create an AI agency infrastructure, twenty four in total. Examples include the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

We expect an announcement on this imminently.

Repression, political manipulation, human rights violations and ‘ruse de guerre‘. These are the common areas agreed upon as abuse of AI.

That AI finally gets Security Council’s attention, we treat with optimism, because it’s the first time the world’s main economic drivers are meeting together under the auspices of an organisation dedicated to global stability, sustainability and co-prosperity.

That the Security Council discusses AI over the next few days, though, is just the beginning. Does this body truly represent the ‘under-represented’ as critics constantly remind us they don’t? And are we going to fall victim to the ultimate political mischief of the UN, the notorious veto?

For now, the agenda is all about AI, not politics. Fingers crossed.

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