UN chief calls for global risk management of AI, warns of 'critical unintended penalties'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the meeting in the course of the World Economic Forum (WEF) assembly in Davos on January 17, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP through Getty Images)

Fabrice Coffrini | Afp | Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday referred to as on political and enterprise leaders to prioritize a global technique coping with the dual threats of artificial intelligence and the climate crisis.

In a particular handle on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Guterres warned that the speedy growth of AI might lead to “critical unintended penalties.”

“It’s good to be again and see Davos highlighting the global disaster in belief,” Guterres mentioned in his opening remarks.

“I imagine this disaster is the direct outcome of a paradox going through our world. In the face of [a] sequence of existential threats, posed by runaway local weather chaos and the runaway growth of synthetic intelligence with out guardrails, we appear powerless to behave collectively,” he added.

“Rebuilding Trust” is the overarching theme of the annual WEF assembly. WEF says this 12 months’s Davos program embodies a “again to fundamentals” spirit of open and constructive dialogue between policymakers, enterprise leaders and civil society, with AI emerging as a major topic of discussion.

Advocates of AI say the expertise may be harnessed to learn humanity in a number of methods, together with fast-tracking affected person diagnoses, serving to to mannequin local weather change and preventing cyberattacks.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday said that he believes there’s a want for global coordination on AI and for settlement on a set of requirements and applicable guardrails for the expertise.

The U.S. tech big is a significant participant within the race to develop AI, pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, the agency behind the favored chatbot ChatGPT.

“Every new interplay of generative AI will increase the risk of critical unintended penalties. The expertise has monumental potential for sustainable growth, however because the International Monetary Fund has simply warned us, it is rather seemingly it’s going to worsen inequality on the earth,” Guterres mentioned.

The IMF said in a report out Sunday that just about 40% of jobs the world over might be affected by the rise of AI. It additionally warned that the potential affect of the expertise on the global labor market is more likely to worsen general inequality generally.

“Some highly effective tech corporations are already pursuing earnings with a transparent disregard for human rights, private privateness and social affect. This is not any secret,” Guterres mentioned, with out naming any particular corporations.

“These two points, local weather and AI, are exhaustively mentioned by governments, by the media and by leaders right here in Davos. And but, we’ve got not an efficient global technique to take care of both,” he mentioned.

“The cause is straightforward, geopolitical divides are stopping us from coming collectively round global options for global challenges. Little marvel that individuals in every single place are dropping face in governments, establishments and monetary and financial methods.”

— CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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