António Guterres said that if AI becomes the main weapon to launch cyberattacks, create deep fakes, or to spread disinformation and hate speech, it will have serious consequences for world peace and security.
“Look no further than social media. Tools and platforms designed to enhance human connection are now being used to undermine elections, spread conspiracy theories, and incite hatred and violence,” he said.
“Bad AI systems are another big area of concern. And the interaction between AI and nuclear weapons, biotechnology, neurotechnology, and robotics, is very surprising.
Mr. Guterres noted the problematic debate about AI governance, emphasizing the need for a universal approach, and cited similar experiences of the past that offer a potential way forward, under the leadership of UN.
“The international community has a long history of responding to new technologies that have the potential to disrupt our societies and economies. We gather at the United Nations to set new international rules, sign new agreement, and building new agencies in the world”, he added.
The guiding principles of lethal autonomous weapon systems and the recommendations on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, for example, are discussed and agreed upon in UN forums.
Similarly, the AI for Good summit, convened in Geneva last month, brought together experts, the private sector, UN agencies, and governments, to help ensure that groundbreaking technology serves the common good, he added. .
Huge skills gap
Mr. Guterres pointed out a skill gap around AI within governments and other bureaucracies, which needs to be addressed on a national and global level.
“I therefore welcome the calls from some Member States for the creation of a new entity at the United Nations to support collective efforts to manage this unique technology, inspired by models such as the International Atomic Energy Agency , International Civil Aviation Organization, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” he said.
“A new UN entity will gather expertise and put it at the disposal of the international community. And it will support collaboration in research and development of AI tools to facilitate sustainable development.
Mr. Guterres announced that he will convene a high-level meeting on AI, which will report back on options for global governance, by the end of this year. He will also release a new policy brief on A New Agenda for Peace, which will make recommendations on managing AI in Member States.
The policy brief will call for negotiations to conclude by 2026 on a legally binding instrument to ban lethal autonomous weapon systems that operate without human control or supervision, which cannot be used to comply with international humanitarian law.
The Secretary-General called on the Security Council, which is responsible for international peace and security, to “train AI leadership” and show the way towards common measures for their transparency, accountability, and oversight.
“We must work together for an AI that bridges social, digital, and economic divides, not one that pushes us apart. I urge you to come together and build trust for peace and security,” concluded Mr. Guterres .
A first for the Council
The meeting on Tuesday was called by the United Kingdom in its capacity to hold the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of July.
This is the first ever meeting of the 15-member Council on the potential threats of artificial intelligence to international peace and security.