G7 Digital Ministers Pledge to Promote ‘Responsible AI’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ministers of Group of Seven countries and others are seen after the G7 Digital and Tech Ministers’ Meeting in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, on Sunday.

TAKASAKI, Gunma — The Group of Seven digital ministers adopted a joint statement Sunday that includes the promotion of “responsible AI” in light of the technology’s rapid development and its significant ongoing impact on society.

Participants in the two-day Digital and Tech Ministers’ Meeting held in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, also adopted an action plan to create environments in which artificial intelligence can be used safely, with the aim of aligning international standards for technology and risk assessment within the G7 nations and other countries.

The ministers agreed on five principles for the appropriate use of new technologies such as AI and other developing technologies: rule of law, respect for human rights, due process, democracy and utilizing opportunities for innovation.

With the rapid proliferation of generative AI such as ChatGPT, a major focus of the meeting was balancing the use of AI and regulation. The risks of privacy, copyright infringement and information leaks related to generative AI also were discussed.

G7 chair Japan was represented by Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takeaki Matsumoto; Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura; and Minister for Digital Reform Taro Kono.

“We shared a common recognition of the need to encourage the development and deployment [of AI], while recognizing the need to establish appropriate rules,” Matsumoto told reporters after the meeting.

Underlying the five principles are deep concerns over whether regulation can keep pace with rapid technological innovation. If it does not, it could lead to the misuse of new technologies including AI and next-generation semiconductors. For example, there are fears that AI could be leveraged by authoritarian states to spy on and control their citizens.

The ministers also discussed the Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) concept — originally proposed by Japan — which facilitates the smooth exchange of data across borders. The G7 member countries aim to reach a final agreement to establish a new international framework to promote DFFT at a G7 meeting scheduled to take place in May.

Cross-border data distribution is expected to increase because AI improves by learning and analyzing large amounts of data. Among the goals of DFFT is the creation of a business-use database that lists data regulations for each country and region.