Over the weekend, the Group of Seven (G7) has called for the creation and adoption of international technical standards to keep up with the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). The G7 States will hold ministerial discussions with the aim of achieving meaningful results in global AI governance by the end of this year.
The use of AI has become increasingly widespread in our daily lives. Generative AI tools have recently captured public attention and are touted to promote global productivity. However, AI is a broad term that has many different meanings and there are many different use cases for so-called AI technologies. Lawmakers and policy administrators worldwide are therefore grappling with how to effectively promote digital innovation and economic growth while simultaneously recognising the pressing need to address potential risks and harms from such technologies.
Acknowledging this, the G7 Annual Summit held in Japan last week addressed the requirement for global action. In a joint statement, the leaders of G7 (US, Germany, Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Canada and the EU) expressed their consensus to collaborate in advancing international discussions on inclusive AI governance and interoperability. Trustworthy AI being the ultimate goal.
The agreement follows the recent proposal from the EU to pass legislation to regulate AI technology. The EU legislation is expected to become the first comprehensive AI law and could potentially set a standard for other nations to follow.
The G7 Joint Statement on AI and Digital Issues
In their joint statement, the G7 leaders recognised that rapid technological advancements have been bolstering societies and economies across the world. However, they also highlighted that the governance of these new technologies has not kept pace at the international level. In this context, the leaders underscored the importance of addressing common governance challenges and identifying potential discrepancies in the proper regulation of technology.
The leaders further stated that while approaches to the common vision and goal of trustworthy AI may vary among countries, the rules and regulations concerning AI and digital technologies should be “in line with our shared democratic values”. These values encompass fairness, accountability, transparency, safety, protection from online harassment, hate and abuse and respect for privacy and human rights, fundamental freedoms and the protection of personal data.
The Upcoming “Hiroshima AI Process”
Given the recent rise of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, the G7 leaders also emphasised the need to examine generative AI in terms of the significant opportunities and also significant challenges which AI technologies present. To facilitate this, it was agreed to establish a ministerial forum called the “Hiroshima AI Process” to advance discussions encompassing AI governance, intellectual property rights, transparency and other relevant issues related to the use and adoption of generative AI. For this purpose, the new working group will be organised, engaging the OECD group of developed countries and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI). The forum is expected to be formed by the end of this year.
The G7 States also recognise the potential of immersive technologies and virtual worlds, such as metaverses, to provide innovative opportunities across various industrial and societal sectors globally, while promoting sustainability. To achieve this, governance, public safety, and human rights challenges should be addressed on a global scale.