Malicious AI, a concern garnering international attention, could lead to “horrific” consequences, warns United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres. As AI technologies continue to evolve, the global community is urged to adopt measures to mitigate the potential threats and challenges it brings forth.
Guterres Warns About the Dangers of Malicious AI
The Secretary General underscored the profound implications of unchecked AI, indicating that such use could cause “widespread trauma and deep psychological damage on an unimaginable scale.” Guterres spoke at the first UN Security Council session devoted to AI, raising awareness of the potential harm and destruction from AI’s misuse.
AI-Enabled Cyber Attacks: A Growing Threat
He shed light on an alarming reality: AI-enabled cyber-attacks have begun to target UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. This rising threat signifies an urgent need to address the malicious use of AI on a global scale, promoting security and safeguarding peacekeeping efforts.
Generative AI: The New Dimension in Disinformation and Manipulation
As generative AI becomes more sophisticated, its misuse could be a defining moment for disinformation and hate speech. Guterres indicated that such tools could add a “new dimension” to the manipulation of human behaviour, further exacerbating the challenges posed by the digital age.
The Call for a New UN Entity to Govern AI
In response to the mounting threats, Guterres proposed the establishment of a new UN entity, akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to monitor and govern AI use. This body would aim to support countries in maximizing AI’s benefits, mitigating risks, and establishing internationally agreed mechanisms of monitoring and governance.
The UK’s Push to Prevent Malicious AI
Echoing this sentiment, the UK’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, emphasized the need for global governance of AI. With AI knowing no borders, he insists that the “widest coalition of international actors from all sectors” must be involved and engaged. The UK is already taking steps, convening a global AI safety summit in the autumn.
AI: A Double-Edged Sword
At an event hosted by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Ian Hogarth of the UK government’s AI Foundation Model taskforce pointed out that AI’s power can also be a force for good.
“We are going to get AI scientists that will complement human scientists and speed up the pace of new science and technology discoveries,” he said.
However, he also cautioned that a malicious actor in the field could pose a significant threat to national security.
What are the implications of Malicious AI?
As the influence of AI expands across borders, the implications of its malicious use are becoming a pressing global concern. The call for an internationally agreed upon mechanism to govern AI resonates more now than ever. How we respond to this call will undoubtedly shape our shared digital future. We invite you to join the discussion below and share your thoughts on how we can balance the immense potential of AI with the very real threats it can pose.
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