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Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Humanity in a ‘race against time’ in AI – UN • PhilSTAR Life

By Vaseline May31,2024
Humanity in a ‘race against time’ in AI – UN • PhilSTAR Life

Humanity is in a race against time to harness the colossal emerging power of the clock artificial intelligence for the good of all while averting serious risks, a top UN official said.

“We have let the genie out of the bottle,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, head of the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“We are in a race against time,” she said at the opening of a two-day AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva.

“The recent developments in AI have been nothing short of extraordinary.”

The thousands of attendees at the conference heard how advances in generative AI are already accelerating efforts to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, hunger and social care.

“I believe we have a unique opportunity to drive AI for the benefit of all people in the world,” Bogdan-Martin told AFP ahead of the summit.

But she complained on Thursday that a third of humanity is still completely offline and “left out of the AI ​​revolution without a voice.”

“This digital and technological divide is no longer acceptable.”

Bogdan-Martin emphasized that AI has “huge potential for both good and bad,” and stressed that it is critical to “make AI systems safe.”

Concentrated power

She said this was especially important because “2024 is the biggest election year in history,” with voting in dozens of countries, including the United States.

She flagged the “rise of sophisticated deepfake disinformation campaigns” and warned that “misuse of AI threatens democracy (and) also endangers the mental health of young people and compromises cybersecurity.”

Other experts at the recently concluded conference agreed.

“We need to understand where we want to go,” says Tristan Harris, a technology ethicist who co-founded the Center for Humane Technology.

He pointed to lessons from social media — initially touted as a way to connect people and give everyone a voice, but which also brought with it addiction, viral misinformation, online harassment and rising mental health issues.

Harris warned that the incentive for companies to roll out the technology risks dramatically increasing such negative impacts.

“The main thing driving Open AI or Google’s behavior is the race to actually achieve market dominance,” he said.

In such a world, he said, “governance that moves at the speed of technology” is critical.

Changing the social contract

OpenAI Chief Sam Altmanwho subsequently achieved worldwide fame Open AI issued ChatGPT recognized the dangers in 2022.

Speaking via video link, he told the meeting that ‘cyber security’ is currently the biggest concern when it comes to the negative impacts of the technology.

Elaborating, he said there would likely be “some change needed in the social contract given how powerful we expect this technology to be.”

“I don’t believe there won’t be jobs… but I do think the whole structure of society itself (will be open to) some degree of debate and reconfiguration.”

Overall, however, he emphasized that from the perspective of how new technologies develop historically, the AI ​​systems were “generally considered safe and robust.”

While he welcomed discussions on regulations to counter the negative impacts of AI in the short term, he warned that it was “difficult” to propose regulations aimed at curbing future impacts.

“We don’t know how society and this technology will develop together,” he said.

Bogdan-Martin, meanwhile, praised that governments and others have recently “made efforts to provide protections” and regulations around the use of AI.

On Wednesday, the European Union announced the creation of an AI agency to regulate artificial intelligence under a sweeping new law.

“It is our responsibility to write the next chapter in the grand story of humanity and technology, and make it safe, inclusive and sustainable,” said Bogdan-Martin. (AFP)

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