G7 ambivalent about generative AI
AI governance did not make the top 10 or 25 concerns mentioned in the G7’s communiqué that closed the group’s 2023 meeting. It was not even in the top half of the document.
But it took up more space than other topics, like education. It is very encouraging that AI, biometrics and all the rest are viewed as economic by the Group of 7 (which was born as a gathering of the world’s most important finance ministers).
The closing statement made it clear that everyone wants the algorithms to be sources of new economic vitality. And while they want to coddle it, they are worried about how easy AI can cause problems or be used to harm.
The president of the European Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen, gave perhaps the most anodyne statement on the matter to Reuters: We want AI systems to be accurate, reliable, safe and non-discriminatory.” It probably should also call its mother on Sundays.
Under the Digital heading (point 38, to be exact), the communique, states that, “while rapid and technological change has been strengthening societies and economies, the international governance of new digital technologies has not necessarily kept pace.”
They sound like someone very carefully cuddling up with a tiger on a cold night wondering how close they can burrow into the lush fur without seeing teeth.
Still, they know the fundamentals to be addressed – “fairness, accountability, transparency, safety, protection from online harassment, hate …” Well, at that point it seemed like maybe their minds wandered, thinking AI could be just a really uptight search engine.
Generative AI got a shout out. Varieties of it are erupting in universities and government math labs everywhere, notably in China. If Microsoft’s chatbot is a would-be homewrecker, what would a North Korea generative AI try to do?