Jul 18, 2023 - Technology

UN chief calls for global AI agency

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in May. Photo: Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto via Getty Images

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has endorsed creating a UN agency to deal with AI threats ranging from how AI might be used in weapons of mass destruction to AI's role in spreading conspiracy theories.

Driving the news: Guterres called for a legally binding global agreement banning AI-powered, fully automated weapons of war by 2026.

What they're saying: “Look no further than social media. Tools and platforms that were designed to enhance human connection are now used to undermine elections, spread conspiracy theories, and incite hatred and violence,” Guterres said.

  • U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield promised to work towards "consensus around common frameworks," which is notable given U.S.-China AI rivalry.

Context: The UN deploys AI to monitor conflict settings, has plans to use autonomous vehicles to help deliver food aid and has developed guidelines for ethical use of AI.

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