February 23, 2024

International Collaboration Needed to Regulate AI, says Expert

The regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly crucial as the technology continues to impact societies worldwide. To address this issue, there have been calls for state leaders to collaborate and establish an international body to oversee AI regulation. While there is a consensus on the need for international cooperation, there are challenges to consider in determining the nature and scope of such an organization.

Proposals for an international AI regulatory body include the creation of a World Technology Organization or a body similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Another approach could involve developing an institutional framework based on successful entities such as CERN, the Human Genome Project, or the International Space Station.

However, there are three significant challenges facing the establishment of an AI-specific international organization. First, AI is a dual-use technology with potential military applications, which makes it difficult for major powers to come together to form a global institution to regulate its development and use. The ongoing chip war between the US and China, as well as the geopolitical competition surrounding AI, create obstacles to international cooperation.

Second, even if the international community agrees to establish an AI regulatory body, determining its functions and objectives raises important questions. Should the organization focus on enhancing scientific cooperation or coordinating AI regulation across countries? Should it establish a monitoring regime to ensure the development of human-centric and responsible AI? Reaching a consensus on these matters will likely take time, given the differing AI approaches and regulatory frameworks employed by various countries.

Third, the institutional character of an international overseeing body for AI also presents challenges. Given the significant role of the private sector in AI development and deployment, a joint public-private governance model may be necessary. However, incorporating private companies into an international governance structure poses challenges within the existing nation-centric framework.

Despite these challenges, some international efforts towards AI regulation already exist. Organizations like the OECD, UNESCO, and the International Organization for Standardization have developed recommendations and standards in their respective areas of expertise. The UN has also established a High-Level Advisory Body on AI to analyze and provide recommendations for international governance. However, it is uncertain whether these fragmented approaches can effectively coordinate a collective response to AI regulation.

In the absence of a standalone AI-focused international organization, powerful actors such as the US and the European Union, where most tech companies are based, will continue to have a significant influence on AI regulation and governance globally.

In conclusion, while the need for international collaboration on AI regulation is evident, challenges related to geopolitical competition, determining the organization’s objectives, and its institutional character must be addressed. Until these issues are resolved, the influence of influential actors and fragmented efforts will continue to shape the global landscape of AI regulation.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it