Ever since AI began to advance at an unprecedented pace, concerns have often been raised about whether it will reach the point where it can massively impact human life. And one of these concerns, as highlighted by various experts and studies, is the use of AI in the military. Even Geoffrey Hinton, the godfather of AI, has already warned about the development of autonomous weapons using AI that can be programmed to perform unethical actions without human intervention.
The level of discussion on the risks associated with the use of AI has recently reached a new level, with the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss it for the first time. During the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talked about AI risks and said that AI could have some ‘serious consequences’ for global peace and security.
UN hosts meeting on AI risks
According to a Reuters report, the meeting was attended by 15 member states and was briefed by Guterres, co-founder of high-profile AI startup Anthropic Jack Clarke, and Professor Zeng Yi, co-director of the China-UK Research Center for AI Ethics and Governance.
During the meeting, Guterres agreed to create a United Nations body to look after and regulate AI technologies. “Both military and non-military applications of AI can have very serious consequences for global peace and security,” he said.
China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun called AI a ‘double-edged sword’ and stressed the need for AI regulation so that the technology does not become a ‘runaway horse’.
On the other hand, the United States cautioned against using AI to censor or oppress people during the meeting. “No member state should use AI to censor, ban, suppress or undermine people,” said Jeffrey DeLaurentis, deputy US ambassador to the United Nations.
Britain’s foreign secretary said AI will transform human life and also called for global governance due to the borderless nature of the technology.
Meanwhile, Russia questioned the role of the Security Council in discussions on AI and suggested that such discussions should take place on specialized platforms focused on expertise-based analysis.
“A professional, scientific, expertise-based discussion is necessary that could take several years and is already underway on specialized platforms,” said Dmitry Polansky, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador.
Sam Altman on AI regulation
In May this year, Sam Altman appeared before a Senate panel and told US lawmakers that artificial intelligence should be regulated. It was the first time that Altman appeared before the Senate panel and during the hearing he told US lawmakers how AI can be wrong and that rule making is the need of the hour. He also said that the government should stop having the power to cancel AI licenses if companies do not follow the rules.
“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong. And we want to be vocal about it,” he said and added, ”we want to work with the government to stop this from happening.”
Since Altman’s comments, there have been many discussions on AI regulation and the Indian government is also working on a Digital India Bill to regulate AI.