Like other people, you may be impressed by generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E but also concerned about their potential effects on society: Will they overwhelm us with a deluge of convincing but false information and images? Will they undermine the intellectual property rights of writers, artists and other creators? Will they steal our jobs?
You may be at least a little relieved to know that world leaders and lawmakers seem to be paying attention. On Saturday, the leaders of the Group of Seven, or G-7, nations issued a bulletin about their summit this week in Hiroshima, Japan, with concerns about artificial intelligence set alongside a host of other international issues.
The heads of the G-7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US (plus the EU) — called for a G-7 working group to establish by the end of the year the Hiroshima AI process, for carrying out talks about how best to deal with chatbots, image generators and other AI technologies. The talks would center on developing an international framework “to achieve the common vision and goal of trustworthy AI,” the bulletin says.
“These discussions could include topics such as governance, safeguard of intellectual property rights including copy rights, promotion of transparency, response to foreign information manipulation, including disinformation, and responsible utilization of these technologies,” says the bulletin.
Though it’s unclear what exactly might come of the talks, the G-7’s focus on AI is another sign that people in high places are aware of the worries around the technology and are cautious about letting its development continue unfettered. The G-7’s bulletin follows other recent moves by government to examine and address AI and its potential perils.
This week, a US Senate subcommittee for privacy, technology and the law questioned Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT creator Open AI, about the pros and cons of AI, and Altman agreed that some sort of regulation is needed. Earlier in the month, US Vice President Kamala Harris met with tech CEOs to discuss AI’s risks, and the White House unveiled a series of initiatives geared toward addressing those dangers. And in April, the European Union released draft rules that would govern a wide range of AI technologies.
Read more: Elon Musk Is Right: We Need to Regulate AI Now
Since AI chatbot ChatGPT burst on the scene late last year, capturing peoples’ imaginations with its humanlike conversational abilities and responses to questions, tech companies have been quick to get on board. They fear that a failure to keep up with AI could render them obsolete. Microsoft has added an AI chatbot to its Bing search engine, Amazon has released an AI coding companion and, most recently, Google has revealed its own AI search makeover, with AI seizing pride of place at the tech giant’s annual I/O conference.
In their bulletin, the G-7 leaders say they’ll work with tech companies and others to develop standards for AI geared toward “responsible innovation and implementation.” They also acknowledge that government policy hasn’t always kept up with the speedy growth of tech.
“We recognize that, while rapid technological change has been strengthening societies and economies, the international governance of new digital technologies has not necessarily kept pace,” the bulletin says. “As the pace of technological evolution accelerates, we affirm the importance to address common governance challenges and to identify potential gaps.”
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