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G7 nations create working group to establish common AI standards

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The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations have announced that discussions will begin later this year surrounding the creation of global standards for artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT.

During the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, representatives of the G7 nations stressed the need to establish global rules for generative AI tools "in line with our shared democratic values".

All members of the G7 group - the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and the EU - agreed that tech governance had not kept up with the rapid pace at which the technology has developed, and called on all nations to asses its impact. 

"We recognise the need to immediately take stock of the opportunities and challenges of generative AI, which is increasingly prominent across countries and sectors," the G7 statement said."We task relevant ministers to establish the Hiroshima AI process, through a G7 working group, in an inclusive manner... for discussions on generative AI by the end of this year." 

These discussions could include topics such as governance, safeguarding of intellectual property rights including copyrights, promotion of transparency, response to foreign information manipulation, including disinformation, and responsible use of AI technologies, according to officials.

The new working group will be organised in cooperation with the OECD group of developed countries and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), the statement added.

The news responds to the increased pressure that has been put on public bodies regarding the rise in popularity of generative AI tools such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and the potential risks they carry.

"While rapid technological change has been strengthening societies and economies, the international governance of new digital technologies has not necessarily kept pace," the G7 statement said.

These free tools can generate text in response to a prompt, including articles, essays, jokes and even poetry. A study published in January showed ChatGPT was able to pass a law exam, scoring an overall grade of C+. However, governments and experts have raised concerns about the risks these tools could pose to people’s privacy, human rights and safety. 

Over the last few months, the European Union has been taking steps that take the bloc closer to the passing of the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive legislation regulating the use of AI technology.   

"We want AI systems to be accurate, reliable, safe and non-discriminatory, regardless of their origin," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

The G7 summit also followed testimony given by OpenAI's founder, Sam Altman, before the US Senate. The executive used his intervention to advocate in favour of increased AI regulation, including the creation of a US or global agency that would provide licenses for companies that aim to develop AI tools, and take them away should they refuse to company with safety standards. 

"We think that regulatory intervention by governments will be critical to mitigate the risks of increasingly powerful models," Altman said.

In the past year, countries have taken varied approaches to the rise of AI. Some, like Italy, opted to issue a temporary ban on the technology, while China has unveiled draft measures to make companies responsible for the data used to train generative AI models. In contrast, El Salvador has decided to promote the development of these technologies by providing significant tax benefits

The UK, in turn, has begun designing ‘light touch’ regulatory frameworks regarding the safe use of AI, while US Vice President Kamala Harris has recently summoned the CEOs of US AI giants and told them they have a “moral” responsibility to protect society from the potential dangers of AI, and made it clear that the government is considering drafting legislation that would further regulate these technologies. 

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