A RTIFICIAL Intelligence is a double-edged weapon that cuts both ways and Governmental oversight over it has been a problematic issue. Two major events in this direction took place recently. On October 30, US President Joe Biden signed his nation’s first AI executive order, with a huge swath of directives for US federal agencies to guide the use of AI. This was followed by an AI Safety Summit in the UK that was attended by representatives from more than two dozen countries, including the US, India and China, and major tech companies including Microsoft and Meta.
The summit, held at the famed wartime code-breaking facility Bletchley Park, produced the Bletchley Declaration, which agrees to better assess and manage the risks of powerful ‘frontier’ AI – advanced systems that could be used to develop risky technologies, such as bioweapons. The agreement signed at the summit marked an important step towards the global governance of a technology that offers much promise and an unprecedented danger.
While the US, India and other counties came together based on their common concerns, bringing China in to sign this declaration was a diplomatic coup for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as it was the first time that China has met with western governments to discuss the issue.
Presenting the Indian perspective, MoS IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said it is critical to guarantee the safety and trustworthiness of platforms, in both AI and the internet. Drawing parallels with the challenges associated with combating misinformation and the weaponisation of the internet, particularly through social media platforms, he emphasised the need for a new framework that places greater responsibility on internet platforms to address user harm. India feels there is an urgent need to establish a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks posed by AI and evolve a mechanism to tackle them.
The global leaders rightly acknowledged the substantial risks from potential intentional misuse or unintended issues of control of AI, especially cybersecurity, biotechnology, and disinformation risks. Global cooperation in tackling the risks, which include potential breaches of privacy and the displacement of jobs, brook no delay.
It is a welcome development that South Korea will co-host a mini-virtual AI summit in the next six months, and France will host the next in-person summit within a year from now, as part of the agreement on international collaboration in AI safety.
The London AI summit came amid steps by various countries to address the challenges of governing AI. The US has already taken the lead, seizing the promise and managing the risks of AI. On its part, the EU is planning to promulgate what could be the world’s first comprehensive framework for regulation. It will define rules to govern the development and use of AI across the European Union. It will involve the setting up of a European Board for Artificial Intelligence to audit and administer the new rules.
The Bletchley Declaration reflects a key milestone in promoting responsible AI development. This should also be equitable in its effects with the benefits reaching all. The Indian approach, emphasised the need to innovate, promote, and adapt to the rapid advancement of AI technologies, focusing on the risks associated with AI, notably job displacement, misuse of data, and other unintended consequences.