Artificial intelligence may have begun in the second half of March 2023. GPT-4, Bard, Claude, Midjourney V5, Security Copilot, and many other AI products launched in two weeks, exceeding expectations. Most experts underestimated these new AI models’ sophistication by a decade.
From the printing press and steam engine to air travel and the internet, breakthrough inventions have boosted economic growth, information access, and health care, and other important services for decades. The rapid adoption of AI tools will have negative effects, as have other transformational discoveries.
AI can accomplish unpleasant tasks. It can provide education and healthcare to millions of underserved individuals. It can boost R&D and bring in a new era of innovation. But it can also accelerate fake news manufacturing, displace human labor, and build hazardous, disruptive instruments that could threaten our life.
Many worries that artificial general intelligence (AGI), an AI that can learn any cognitive skill humans can undertake, would threaten humanity’s existence. An AGI with poor design or unknown “black box” mechanisms could endanger our humanity. AGI may then define humanity.
AI and other new technologies require greater global governance. Diplomats and international policymakers have traditionally viewed technology as a “sectoral” issue best left to energy, finance, or defense ministries, a myopic view that is similar to how climate governance was once the sole domain of scientific and technical experts. Climate governance is now considered a superordinate area that includes international policy. Today’s governance architecture reflects the issue’s global scope and intricacies.
The G7 conference in Hiroshima suggested a similar approach to technical governance. AI and other new technologies will transform power sources, distribution, and projection worldwide. They will enable new offensive and defensive capabilities and open new battlefields, including cyberspace and outer space. They will control what we consume, concentrating economic progress in particular places, industries, and enterprises while denying others similar possibilities and capabilities.
Importantly, AI will affect our fundamental rights and freedoms, relationships, topics we care about, and even our most deeply held beliefs. AI algorithms’ feedback loops and reliance on our data will increase prejudices and weaken many countries’ already fragile social contracts.
Our reaction must include many international treaties. For instance, we should make UN-level accords to limit warfare technology use. A treaty barring lethal autonomous weapons is a solid start, but cyberspace regulation, especially aggressive bot activity, is also needed.
New trade regulations are essential. Unrestricted technology exports can give governments formidable instruments to stifle dissent and greatly enhance their military capabilities. We also need to improve the digital economy level playing fields, including taxation.
As G7 leaders seem to realize, democratic countries should collaborate on AI legislation to protect open societies. Governments can now manipulate opinion and create consent. Advanced AI techniques can generate technological leviathans: all-knowing states and companies that can shape and repress citizen behavior across boundaries. Support Unesco’s worldwide AI ethics framework and a global Charter of Digital Rights.
Tech diplomacy requires new approaches to growing powers. Western economies’ relations with India, the world’s largest democracy, may make or shatter such diplomacy. By 2028, India may be the third-largest economy after the US and China. IT and digital economy expertise have driven its rapid rise. India’s perspectives on developing technology are crucial. Its regulation and backing of AI will affect billions of users.
The US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) and the EU-India Trade and Technology Council, which convened in Brussels this month, show that both countries value engagement with India. But accommodating cultural and economic settings and interests is necessary to succeed. Appreciating such intricacies would help us assure a prosperous digital future. AI-generated chaos is the alternative.