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UN Secretary-General Launches Advisory Board to Support AI Governance | News | SDG Knowledge Hub

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the establishment of a new advisory body on addressing risks and opportunities in international governance of artificial intelligence (AI). The High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence will enable a global, multidisciplinary, and multistakeholder conversation on the governance of AI.

Speaking at the launch of the High-Level Advisory Body, the Secretary-General highlighted “an extraordinary advance” in AI capabilities and its use over the last year. He said AI could power progress for humanity by supercharging climate action and efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030, provided AI technologies are harnessed responsibly and made accessible to all. Opportunities range from “predicting and addressing crises to rolling out public health services and education services.” Developing countries could “leapfrog[] outdated technologies and bring[] services directly to people.”

“As things stand,” Guterres warned, “AI expertise is concentrated in a handful of companies and countries,” which could exacerbate global inequalities and digital divides. He pointed to the potential harms of AI, including misinformation and disinformation, the entrenching of bias and discrimination, surveillance and invasion of privacy, and fraud, among other violations of human rights, and cautioned about its malicious use, which could “undermine trust in institutions, weaken social cohesion and threaten democracy itself.”

The High-Level Advisory Body will explore ways to link various AI governance initiatives and, by the end of 2023, make preliminary recommendations on how to leverage AI to accelerate the delivery of the SDGs in the following areas: 

  1. International governance of AI;

  2. A shared understanding of risks and challenges; and

  3. Key opportunities and enablers.

The Advisory Body’s recommendations will support preparations for the 2024 Summit of the Future and feed into negotiations towards the proposed Global Digital Compact. The Body will consult with the Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board on how to harness the benefits of AI to accelerate progress “for the good of all.”

The High-Level Advisory Body is “gender-balanced, geographically diverse and spans generations.” Bringing experience across government, the private sector, the technology community, civil society, and academia, the Body’s 39 members will serve in their personal capacity. They will also “consult widely, extensively and transparently to hear the views of all stakeholders.” [UN News Story] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Internet Governance Forum Pivoting to Global Digital Compact] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UN Secretary-General’s Briefing on Progress on Our Common Agenda]

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