Manager, Privacy | INQ Consulting
On October 26th, 2023, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the creation of a new Artificial Intelligence Advisory Body (“Advisory Body”). The creation of an Advisory Body is critical given the global and multidimensional reach of this technology and its ability to exacerbate existing global inequalities, such as entrenching bias and discrimination. This new Advisory Body will work to harness AI for humanity and support the international community’s efforts in governing artificial intelligence through their investigation of the risks and opportunities presented by AI.¹￼
The Advisory Body will be made up of 39 experts from government, private, and civil society sectors working towards aligning AI with interoperability standards grounded in human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”).² The Advisory Committee’s members include the UAE’s Minister on artificial intelligence Omar Al Olama, Google executive James Manyika, and policy advisor Alondra Nelson, amongst others.
The Advisory Body will create preliminary recommendations by the end of this calendar year on AI and building a shared understanding of global challenges and key opportunities present in AI.³ Their recommendations will subsequently feed into negotiations concerning the proposed Global Digital Compact, which will take place at the 2024 Summit of the Future; a gathering intended to get the international community back on track in realizing the implementation⁴ of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.⁵ The Advisory Body will also consult with the UN’s Scientific Advisory Board, in an effort to ensure the benefits of AI serve as accelerants for all people.⁶
The creation of the Advisory Committee is part and parcel of the UN’s efforts to foster policy engagement and multilateral cooperation on AI issues: several international AI initiatives are already underway, including the upcoming U.K. AI Safety Summit⁷ and the G7 AI code of conduct.⁸ Both efforts compliment the global push towards AI regulation spurred by the world’s first comprehensive law on AI,⁹ the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence and Amending Certain Union Legislative Act, known as the European AI Act,¹⁰ and the United States’ recent Executive Order¹¹ outlining the Biden Administration’s strategic vision on governing AI.
What impact, if any, will this Advisory Body have on the global regulation of AI? The body itself will lack enforceability powers, but its recommendations could ultimately serve to determine the form and functionality of a future UN agency dedicated to AI.¹² Harnessing international cooperation could become increasingly important given AI’s ability to widen exiting digital divides since AI expertise is concentrated in a handful of companies and countries.¹³ Time will tell whether the Advisory Body and its subsequent work will enable all Member States to take part in the next industrial revolution. ￼
Ensure to keep yourself appraised of recommendations being issued by the Advisory Body;
Future proof your AI business and solutions by implementing a Responsible AI program; and
Provide AI ethics training to all staff involved in the AI pipeline of your products and services.
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¹ Source: Secretary-General's Advisory Body Members - Artificial Intelligence | United Nations Secretary-General ² Source: https://www.un.org/techenvoy/ai-advisory-body ³ Source: https://sdg.iisd.org/news/un-secretary-general-launches-advisory-board-to-support-ai-governance/ ⁴ Source: https://www.un.org/en/summit-of-the-future#:~:text=The%20Summit%20of%20the%20Future%20will%20create%20the%20conditions%20in,of%20the%202023%20SDG%20Summit. ⁵ Source: https://www.un.org/en/summit-of-the-future ⁶ Source: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2023-10-26/secretary-general%E2%80%99s-remarks-press-conference-launching-high-level-advisory-body-artificial-intelligence%C2%A0 ⁷ Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ai-safety-summit-2023 ⁸ Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/g7-agree-ai-code-conduct-companies-g7-document-2023-10-29/#:~:text=The%2011%2Dpoint%20code%20%22aims,%22%2C%20the%20G7%20document%20said. ⁹ Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20230601STO93804/eu-ai-act-first-regulation-on-artificial-intelligence ¹⁰ Source: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52021PC0206 ¹¹ Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/30/fact-sheet-president-biden-issues-executive-order-on-safe-secure-and-trustworthy-artificial-intelligence/ ¹² Source: https://time.com/6328861/un-advisory-group-ai/ ¹³ Source: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2023-10-26/secretary-general%E2%80%99s-remarks-press-conference-launching-high-level-advisory-body-artificial-intelligence%C2%A0