G7 Members Must Establish Appropriate Rules to Tackle Risks

How should we deal with the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence? The Group of Seven industrialized nations must examine anticipated risks from various perspectives and establish international rules to prevent harmful effects.

The G7 Digital and Tech Ministers’ Meeting was held in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. The joint declaration adopted at the gathering states that AI “has the potential for significant impacts on society” and calls for the promotion of “responsible AI.”

The declaration stipulates the need to grasp the issues surrounding AI at an early stage and continue promoting safety and trust. As an annex to the declaration, the ministers also compiled an action plan for the appropriate use of AI.

It is significant that the G7 countries have shared their awareness of the risks arising from the rapidly growing use of AI.

Users of generative AI, such as the ChatGPT tool developed by a U.S. startup, are rapidly increasing around the world.

Generative AI learns from vast amounts of data on the internet and creates such materials as images and naturally expressed answers in response to users’ questions and instructions. While AI is expected to increase corporate productivity, there are also deep concerns about various adverse effects.

In addition to the risk of spreading false information, copyright infringements and the leakage of users’ personal information may occur, too. It has been pointed out that the overuse of AI may reduce human thinking power.

Overseas, Italy temporarily banned the use of ChatGPT on the grounds that it may have collected personal information without sufficient explanation. The European Union has established a task force to study how to deal with generative AI and has begun discussing the issue.

In the United States, four agencies, including the Justice Department, have announced that they will strengthen their monitoring of the development and use of AI.

The Japanese government, however, has indicated that it intends to actively use AI, including in the preparation of answers to the Diet that set out national policies and directions. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has met with the CEO of ChatGPT’s developer, giving the impression that the government is positive about using AI.

As the world becomes increasingly wary of AI, is Japan being overly optimistic? The government has said that its stance is to attach importance to voluntary actions by companies and research institutes so as not to impede technological innovation, but it is problematic if it turns a blind eye to adverse effects.

Furthermore, the G7 countries must avoid having disparate regulations on the development and use of AI. It is important for the countries to establish appropriate concerted controls while respecting each others’ intentions.

AI will also be on the agenda at the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May. Kishida, who will chair the meeting, has a responsibility to take the lead in establishing appropriate rules on AI while paying close attention to its risks.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 1, 2023)