Home OPINIONS Looking at China’s global AI governance initiative

Looking at China’s global AI governance initiative

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new area of human development. Currently, the fast development of AI around the globe has exerted profound influence on socioeconomic development and the progress of human civilization, and brought huge opportunities to the world. However, AI technologies also bring about unpredictable risks and complicated challenges. The governance of AI, a common task faced by all countries in the world, bears on the future of humanity. 

In a communique released recently, China says that countries should build consensus through dialogue and cooperation, and develop open, fair, and efficient governing mechanisms, in a bid to promote AI technologies to benefit humanity and contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind. 

The communique calls on all countries to enhance information exchange and technological cooperation on AI governance. The world should work together to prevent risks, and develop AI governance frameworks, norms and standards based on broad consensus, so as to make AI technologies more secure, reliable, controllable, and equitable. The pubic sector, public sector, civil organisations, and individuals to jointly promote the governance of AI under the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. 

We should uphold a people-centered approach in developing AI, with the goal of increasing the wellbeing of humanity and on the premise of ensuring social security and respecting the rights and interests of humanity, so that AI always develops in a way that is beneficial to human civilization.

We must adhere to the principle of developing AI for good, respect the relevant international laws, and align AI development with humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom. We should work together to prevent and fight against the misuse and malicious use of AI technologies by terrorists, extreme forces, and transnational organised criminal groups. 

Global collaboration should foster the sound development of AI, share AI knowledge, and make AI technologies available to the public under open-source terms. The world must oppose drawing ideological lines or forming exclusive groups to obstruct other countries from developing AI.  

Research and development entities should improve the explainability and predictability of AI, increase data authenticity and accuracy, ensure that AI always remains under human control, and build trustworthy AI technologies that can be reviewed, monitored, and traced.

We should adhere to the principles of fairness and non-discrimination, and avoid biases and discrimination based on ethnicities, beliefs, nationalities, genders, etc., during the process of data collection, algorithm design, technology development, and product development and application. 

We should put ethics first. We should establish and improve ethical principles, norms, and accountability mechanisms for AI, formulate AI ethical guidelines, and build sci-tech ethical review and regulatory system. We should clarify responsibilities and power boundaries for entities related to AI, fully respect and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of various groups, and address domestic and international ethical concerns in a timely manner. 

We should uphold the principles of wide participation and consensus-based decision-making, adopt a gradual approach, pay close attention to technological advancements, conduct risk assessments and policy communication, and share best practices. On this basis, we should encourage active involvement from multiple stakeholders to achieve broad consensus in the field of international AI governance, based on exchange and cooperation and with full respect for differences in policies and practices among countries. 

We should increase the representation and voice of developing countries in global AI governance, and ensure equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal rules for all countries in AI development and governance. Efforts should be made to conduct international cooperation with and provide assistance to developing countries, to bridge the gap in AI and its governance capacity. We support discussions within the United Nations framework to establish an international institution to govern AI, and to coordinate efforts to address major issues concerning international AI development, security, and governance. 

Stephen Ndegwa
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