The United Nations General Assembly adopted a global artificial intelligence (AI) resolution on March 21.

The new resolution aims to promote “safe, secure, and trustworthy” AI development. The Assembly said it is paramount that AI is developed in a sustainable manner that does not threaten human rights.

The AI Resolution

The UNGA has requested member states and stakeholders to refrain from deploying AI in manners inconsistent with international human rights laws. It also acknowledged the varying technological advancements across countries and called for efforts to bridge this development gap.

Sections of the eight-page document call for raising awareness, strengthening investments, safeguarding privacy, ensuring transparency, and addressing diversity issues around AI.

The resolution also encourages governments to develop safeguards, practices, and standards for AI development and calls on specialized agencies and UN-related agencies to address AI issues.

The resolution is co-sponsored by over 120 countries. It was adopted without a vote, representing unanimous support among all 193 UN member states.

US played key role

According to a statement from the White House and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the US was the primary sponsor of the resolution, which finally succeeded after four months of negotiations with other countries.

Sullivan emphasized the human rights aspects of the resolution and said:

“Critically, the resolution makes clear that protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms must be central to the development and use of AI systems.”

In another statement, Vice President Kamala Harris said that she and President Joe Biden are committed to creating and strengthening international rules on AI and other technologies.

Harris also called the resolution a “historic step toward establishing clear international norms” and said that nations should address both catastrophic and small-scale risks.

Other AI efforts

The UN’s global resolution follows other, more localized efforts to regulate the rapidly growing AI industry in recent months.

The European Parliament voted in favor of an AI Act, which aims to set governance standards for the region, on March 13. The European Commission launched an inquiry into the use of AI by major online tech companies based on a separate Digital Services Act on March 14.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration signed an executive order in October 2023 that addresses various safety and security issues around AI development and use in the US.

India also introduced requirements around AI in March ahead of the country’s national elections.

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By GIL