The United Nations General Assembly Adopts Global AI Resolution

On March 21, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a global artificial intelligence (AI) resolution aimed at promoting “safe, secure, and trustworthy” AI development. The Assembly emphasized the importance of developing AI in a sustainable manner that does not pose a threat to human rights.

The UNGA’s resolution calls on member states and stakeholders to avoid deploying AI in ways that are inconsistent with international human rights laws. It also recognizes the disparities in technological advancements among countries and urges efforts to bridge this development gap.

Key points in the eight-page document include raising awareness, increasing investments, protecting privacy, ensuring transparency, and addressing diversity issues related to AI. The resolution also encourages governments to establish safeguards, practices, and standards for AI development, with specialized agencies and UN-related agencies called upon to address AI issues.

This resolution, co-sponsored by over 120 countries, was adopted unanimously without a vote, demonstrating support from all 193 UN member states.

The United States played a significant role in the resolution, with the White House and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stating that the US was the primary sponsor. Sullivan highlighted the human rights aspect of the resolution, emphasizing that the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be central to the development and use of AI systems.

Vice President Kamala Harris praised the resolution as a “historic step toward establishing clear international norms” and reiterated the commitment of President Joe Biden and herself to creating and strengthening international rules on AI and other technologies. She emphasized the need for nations to address both catastrophic and small-scale risks.

The UN’s global resolution on AI comes after other recent efforts to regulate the AI industry. The European Parliament approved an AI Act to set governance standards for the region on March 13, while the European Commission launched an inquiry into the use of AI by major online tech companies as part of a separate Digital Services Act on March 14. In the US, the Biden administration signed an executive order in October 2023 addressing safety and security concerns related to AI development and use. India also implemented AI requirements in March ahead of its national elections.

The resolution signifies a collective effort by the international community to establish guidelines and norms for the development and use of artificial intelligence.


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