UN adopts resolution on AI that China proposed

2024-07-02 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The United Nations General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution proposed by China to strengthen international cooperation on artificial intelligence capacity-building and advocate for "an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment".

AI technology is rapidly developing globally, but most people, especially in developing countries, have not yet had real access to it or benefited from it, said Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to the UN. He called for a strengthening of international cooperation on AI, for developing and using AI technology equally, and for a sharing of its benefits.

The resolution "encourages international cooperation to help countries, especially developing ones, strengthen AI capacity, enhance their representation in global AI governance, and advocate for an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment", said Fu.

The resolution has been co-sponsored by more than 140 countries, including a last-minute addition of the United States.

"We're very appreciative of the positive role that the US has played in this whole process. China is ready to work with the US on the issue of AI," Fu told reporters at UN headquarters after the resolution was adopted. He said that senior-level officials in China and the US have discussed AI.

"So we look forward to intensifying our cooperation with the United States and, for that matter, with all countries in the world on this issue," he said.

On Monday, Fu presented the draft resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Uganda, the UAE and Zambia.

The resolution, said Fu, emphasizes that AI development should be "human-oriented, promote good, and benefit humanity".

It highlights the UN's central role in international cooperation to achieve inclusive and sustainable AI development and contribute to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.

The resolution at the 78th session of the General Assembly came about one month after the United States released a new round of measures to restrict and monitor American companies' and individuals' investments in key technologies in China, including AI, semiconductors and quantum computing sectors.

The US has been imposing export-control measures since October 2022, aimed at restricting China's access to advanced AI chips made with US inputs.

"With respect to the sanctions imposed by the US government, fostering an inclusive business environment is important," Fu said. "We don't think the actions taken by the US align with that principle. We urge the US to lift these sanctions.

"We don't believe that the US government's position or decisions will be helpful for the healthy development of AI technology," he said. "Such actions could divide the world in terms of standards and rules governing AI. We believe it's important to be inclusive on this matter."

In March, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the first AI resolution, submitted by the US with more than 120 member countries, including China, to "promote safe, secure, and trustworthy AI systems" and advance a shared approach to the technology.

Fu said the two resolutions complement each other. "If you look at them, the US resolution is more general, while the Chinese resolution is more focused on capacity- building. That's why we believe these are complementary resolutions," he said.

It is the second draft resolution proposed by China to be passed by the General Assembly in less than a month. Earlier this month, the assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to establish the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations.


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