Last week during the high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General delivered remarks at the “Advancing the global goals with artificial intelligence” event at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Zone.
While the vital role of AI is to accelerate the achievements of the SDGs, the DSG highlighted the risks associated with the implementation of AI including widening the inequality gap, fueling discrimination and persecution, manipulating political processes, generating highly plausible information and disrupting the job market. It was further noted that the issue was not about how AI works, but how it was used.
Before deploying AI, it is important to ask whom it is empowering. Great care must be taken to address not only risks of deliberate misuse, but also unintended impact on the poor and vulnerable. The disruptive impact of AI and automation on employment in the world’s poorest communities was also recognized.
Within the United Nations, three roles were highlighted regarding implementation of AI:
In short, the UN considers the challenges and opportunities posed by AI to be central to the work UN will be doing in the coming decades.