U.N. calls for restrictions on AI in peacetime

B Joanna Chan Governments should implement a moratorium on the use of artificial intelligence in peacetime and until data-protection standards are established and established data protection laws are well-understood and effective, a United Nations…

U.N. calls for restrictions on AI in peacetime

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Joanna Chan

Governments should implement a moratorium on the use of artificial intelligence in peacetime and until data-protection standards are established and established data protection laws are well-understood and effective, a United Nations panel has recommended.

In a report called UNASUR: A Special Envoy for Artificial Intelligence, Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the UN Secretary-General, and former Argentine President, said new technologies such as AI are potentially “a positive force for progress”.

However, according to the report, human rights are not taken into account in many cases. In a chapter titled ‘The third Industrial Revolution’ the report states, “AI will bring new advantages, such as exponential technological change in manufacturing and production. But for society it will also bring risks to human dignity, including inequalities, structural violence and non-consensual use of surveillance.”

The Special Envoy group, which was headed by Julio Gernandt, President of the National Institute of Technology in Argentina, held a series of consultations from April to October 2018 in Belize, Colombia, Iran, India, Lebanon, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

‘Artificial Intelligence: A Positive Force for Progress’ is also the first report the Special Envoy group has issued on the topic, the report said.

Recommendations

In its recommendations to policymakers, the Special Envoy group identifies some areas of concern. The group recommends creating a UN forum to regulate data collection, including public-private partnerships. It also recommends a reevaluation of the role of public-private partnerships, and the creation of a space at the U.N. to provide public information on issues surrounding AI.

The group also recommends the U.N. create a framework for regulating AI that takes into account the appropriateness of the data, the impact it has on rights and freedoms, the authority of regulators and authorities, the constraints to its use, and the societal benefits or risks. It also recommends a simple statement of fundamental rights that should be affirmed every time a new advancement is made in the use of AI, and that can be found on the internet.

The Special Envoy group was established by UNASUR, a Latin American intergovernmental organization that gathers 11 countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Members of the panel include Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, and Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

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