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UNGA adopts AI resolution

The move is aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in the context of the rapidly developing technology

The UN General Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted the first global AI-related resolution aimed at promoting and safeguarding human rights in the context of digital technologies.

Proposed by the US and co-sponsored by more than 120 countries, the non-binding resolution was endorsed by all 193 UN member nations. According to a statement on the UN website, it establishes the principles of development and the use of “safe, secure and trustworthy” AI systems.

”The improper or malicious design, development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems … pose risks that could … undercut the protection, promotion and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement reads.

The UNGA pointed to the “varying levels” of technological development among and within countries, noting that developing nations face certain challenges in keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation.

Speaking before the adoption, US Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the international community had a responsibility “to govern this technology rather than let it govern us.”

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“So let us reaffirm that AI will be created and deployed through the lens of humanity and dignity, safety and security, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

The UNGA resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives by governments across the world to shape the development of AI amid growing concerns over the potential for abuse of the technology.

Earlier this month, the EU passed a landmark AI law aimed at ensuring the fast-changing technology remains safe and in compliance with fundamental human rights but also boosts innovation. The regulation is expected to enter into force at the end of the legislature in May, after passing final checks and receiving endorsement from the European Council.

Some countries, including China and India, have also been issuing guidelines for regulating the technology. In October, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order to reduce AI risks to consumers, workers, and minority groups while bolstering national security.

 

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