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UN calls for AI watchdog agency due to 'tremendous' potential: 'very clear' urgency

The United Nations sees an urgent need for an artificial intelligence (AI) watchdog group but understands that member states must first align on general policies and interests before any such agency could form.

“The urgency is very clear in the U.N.’s perspective,” Under-Secretary-General and U.N. Tech Envoy Amandeep Gill told Fox News Digital in an interview. “Urgency in terms of addressing the risks and addressing the governance gap in the institutions.”

Gill has led the way on the U.N.’s efforts to establish an advisory committee on AI policy, which the organization expects to have up and running by the end of the year. The committee is something the U.N. can establish since it has no governing power, and any watchdog agency must come from the member states and the U.N. can only act with what power the members provide it.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently urged members to pay attention to “alarm bells over the latest form of artificial intelligence,” which are “loudest from the developers who designed it.”

Amandeep Gill UN

Amandeep Singh Gill (Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit/File)

“Public sector institutions are way behind in terms of their understanding, in terms of their ability to cope with the implications, whether it’s the shifts in the job market or misinformation, disinformation, the threat to democracies,” Gill said. “So, that is driving the perspective on the risk side.”

“At the same time, there’s tremendous potential of AI and data to accelerate progress on the sustainable development goals,” he added. “Whether it’s climate change, resilient agriculture, or, you know, handling the next pandemic, AI can be an invaluable tool.”

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Gill highlighted concerns about the U.N. falling behind on sustainable development goals and the handling of certain crises, including the cost of living crisis – all of which AI can help to alleviate or even resolve.

“The most impressive results I’ve seen with AI is in terms of exploration of research and innovation,” Gill said. “What used to take years in terms of predicting the structure of proteins can be done in months now, so I’m very excited by the potential of AI to accelerate the R&D of solutions across the board, from climate change to agriculture, to health and so on.”

“The unwise deployment of AI, the rushed deployment of AI without sufficient consideration to context, governance and the life cycle of AI, that’s what concerns me the most.”

Fox News Digital’s Nikolas Launum and Reuters contributed to this report.

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