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UN chief supports creation of AI watchdog body


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United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday expressed support for establishing an AI watchdog body akin to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“It’s my intention to create a high-level advisory body on artificial intelligence to seriously prepare the different kinds of initiatives that we will be able to take.

I would be favorable to the idea that we could have an artificial intelligence, an agency, which I would say is inspired by what the International Agency of Atomic Energy is today,” the top UN official said at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

Guterres stressed the need to address the significant harm caused by digital platforms filled with misinformation alongside the concerns over advancements in artificial intelligence, proposing an international code of conduct as a solution.

While acknowledging that the alarm bells over AI were “deafening,” the UN chief emphasized that they should not divert attention from the existing damage inflicted by digital technology.

“They must not distract us from the damage digital technology is already doing to our world,” he said.

Guterres highlighted the grave global harm caused by the proliferation of hate and lies in the digital space, noting that “the proliferation of hate and lies in the digital space is causing grave global harm now.”

He further underscored that “it is fueling conflict, death and destruction now.

It is threatening democracy and human rights now.”

Looking ahead, Guterres revealed that a United Nations Code of Conduct for information integrity on digital platforms was being developed in preparation for the UN’s upcoming “Summit of the Future” scheduled for next year.

The secretary-general put forth several proposals, including calling for a commitment by governments, tech companies and other stakeholders to refrain from using, supporting, or amplifying disinformation and hate speech for any purpose; the consistent application of policies and resources by digital platforms around the world, to eliminate double standards that allow hate speech and disinformation to flourish in some languages and countries; a commitment from digital platforms to make sure all products take account of safety, privacy and transparency.

“Advertisers — who are deeply implicated in monetizing and spreading damaging content — should take responsibility for the impact of their spending,” Guterres noted.

The UN chief further stressed that “disinformation and hate should not generate maximum exposure and massive profits.”


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