US-led UN General Assembly Resolution endeavours to achieve equitable and safe global AI development for the world

The United States is leading the historic formulation of the first-ever UN General Assembly resolution on AI, which aims to create a global framework for safe, secure and trustworthy development and use of the technology. Key objectives include closing the digital divide between developed and developing countries as well as establishing responsible AI governance.

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The UN General Assembly resolution, spearheaded by the United States, seeks to address the rapid advancements in AI and its potential impact on the world through facilitating a ‘global conversation’ on the matter, as stated by the U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The Draft Resolution highlights the urgent need for a global consensus on AI governance and the participation of all countries in the AI development and governance process, especially the developing nations, to ensure access to and benefits from AI for all.

The Resolution, drafted with inputs taken from 120 UN member states,  acknowledges that AI governance is a new, evolving area and that different governance approaches are needed to effectively manage the technology. However, there are certain key objectives outlined in the Resolution:

  • Trustworthy AI: The resolution lays down the principles for developing and using AI that places a premium on safety, security, and trust considerations.
  • Equitable digital access: Keeping in mind the immense opportunities associated with the technology as well as risks, the US aims to close the gap between developed and developing nations in terms of AI access and capabilities.
  • AI for Sustainable Development: The resolution aspires to work towards using AI to fulfil the UN’s sustainable development goals, such as poverty reduction and improved healthcare.
  • Creation of a Global Framework for Responsible AI: The draft calls for collaboration among nations, organisations, and stakeholders to develop regulations and frameworks for governing AI, while warning against its malicious and improper use, which violates international law and human rights.

Why does this matter?

While the UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, they are an important indicator of public opinion on critical issues. With the concurrence of all 193 UN member states for the UN AI Resolution, the passage of the document would constitute a significant milestone as it presents the first attempt at a shared understanding of the prescient opportunities and risks of AI at a global level. These first set of global guidelines lay the foundation for ensuring the safe and beneficial use of AI for all, by leveraging the benefits of the technology to effectively tackle global challenges, such as the UN SDGs, while simultaneously managing the risks.