An urgent agenda: AI talks shake up G7 Summit in Japan


The G7, composed of the world’s seven most advanced economies, has recognized the urgency of addressing the impact of AI.
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi speaks with France’s President, Emmanuel Macron as US President, Joe Biden speaks with Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. Image: Getty

Our technological age is witnessing a breakthrough that has existential implications and risks. The innovative behemoth, ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, is ushering us inexorably into an AI economy where machines can spin human-like text, spark deep conversations and unleash unparalleled potential. However, this bold new frontier has its challenges. Security, privacy, data ownership and ethical considerations are complex issues that we must address, as they are no longer just hypothetical but a reality knocking at our door.

The G7, composed of the world’s seven most advanced economies, has recognized the urgency of addressing the impact of AI. They have agreed to tackle this challenge and take a “risk-based” approach to navigate through this uncertain territory. To guide their efforts, they have identified key areas: acknowledging the importance of AI, balancing its risks and benefits, educating about AI and calling for “guardrails” when it comes to AI.

These are crucial aspects that should ignite not just a conversation but a much-needed global dialogue on the optimal route toward generative AI adoption. The time to engage, debate and decide is now—before the wave of AI overtakes us.

An urgent agenda

At the heart of the G7 discussions are concerns over the pace of AI advancements outstripping regulatory measures. The recent meetings have underscored the importance of defining “guardrails” for AI development to balance the many opportunities and potential risks this powerful technology poses.

In a significant step forward, the G7 digital ministers released an early statement on artificial intelligence, as reported by the Financial Times, reaffirming AI policies and regulations should be “human centric” and preserve human rights, privacy and personal data. We are still waiting for the final version to be published. They also called for forward-looking, risk-based approaches to AI development and deployment that maximize benefits while mitigating potential risks.

Indeed, the G7 nations are aware of both the potential benefits and risks of generative AI. With tools such as ChatGPT, we can simulate human-like conversations and produce text, which could find myriad useful applications.

“Generative AI has achieved a pivotal degree of functionality, leading to its rapid and extensive adoption in a surprisingly short span of time,” said Professor Marko Grobelnik, digital champion of Slovenia, AI researcher, co-head of the AI department at Jozef Stefan Institute and member of AI committees at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, NATO, Council of Europe, Global Partnership on AI and UNESCO. “Systems such as ChatGPT have reset the bar, revolutionizing expectations about what can be achieved with new technologies.”

However, there are also concerns about potential drawbacks, such as the reduction in critical thinking skills, data leaks and potential copyright infringement.

US President Joe Biden (L) and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Image: Getty
Defining Guardrails

Regulation is another frontier where G7 nations are making progress. They are working toward more coordination in the area of cross-border data flows, which is crucial for generative AI systems. Recognizing the need for a shared understanding and establishing rules to govern the use of AI, they are still under development.

Jordan Crenshaw, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), shares his U.S. industry view on this topic: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s bipartisan A.I. Commission looked into these issues and found it is imperative that U.S. officials shore up partnerships with global partners to advance sensible governance frameworks that advance common democratic goals. It is in our common interest to ensure democratic nations lead in developing and deploying A.I. responsibly. Concerns around generative A.I. should not lead policymakers to take a one-size-fits all approach but instead look to flexible and risk-based frameworks.”

Education and AI

In the realm of education, G7 countries have realized the need to mitigate risks associated with generative AI in learning environments. This topic was highlighted when education ministers from the G7 countries met recently and confirmed their intent to manage potential risks.

Japan, in particular, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), plans to introduce guidelines on AI usage in school settings within the 2023 academic year, indicating a proactive approach toward integrating AI into education while also managing potential risks.

Risk-Based Approach

In a May Reuters article, the idea of a risk-based approach was discussed in relation to the growing trend of AI regulation among G7 countries. This concept implies a tailored regulatory framework that acknowledges the diverse uses and potential risks of AI.

It aims to facilitate an enabling environment for AI innovation while ensuring adequate protection. Such a regulatory approach resonates with the NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework (AIRMF), recognized by the U.S. commerce secretary as the “gold standard” for AI regulatory guidance.

Recommendations moving forward

To understand how countries may approach AI, we need to examine a few critical aspects.

Clear regulations and guidelines for generative AI: To ensure the responsible and safe use of generative AI, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers privacy, security and ethics. This framework will provide clear guidance for both developers and users of AI technology.

Public engagement: It’s important to involve different viewpoints in policy discussions about AI, as these decisions affect society as a whole. To achieve this, public consultations or conversations with the general public about generative AI can be helpful.

Addressing inequality: It is important to prioritize policies that promote fair and equal access to AI technologies and their benefits. Unequal distribution of AI benefits can worsen the existing digital divide.

Multidisciplinary research: To gain a deeper understanding of generative AI’s impact on society, psychology and economics, it is crucial to conduct multidisciplinary research. This requires collaboration among AI experts, social scientists, ethicists, psychologists and economists.

International collaboration: It would be advantageous to increase collaboration and coordination with non-G7 countries through the United Nations and G20, especially with developing nations. These countries can provide diverse viewpoints and encounter unique challenges regarding AI.

Addressing generative AI’s carbon footprint: G7 nations recognize the potential of AI to address complex challenges like climate change and sustainability. AI-driven climate models and data analysis can provide insights into climate patterns and help predict and manage disasters. Furthermore, AI can optimize energy use in various sectors, contributing to sustainability. Policies and strategies should be put in place.

We stand at a pivotal juncture in the history of technology. AI is no longer a figment of science fiction but an integral part of our reality, poised to transform the world in unimaginable ways. As we navigate this landscape, we must confront the challenges that AI presents head-on, conscious of its potential and the need for responsible stewardship.

As we witness the dawn of the AI age, it is incumbent upon all nations, G7 and beyond, to work in harmony. To heed the lessons from this shared journey, to establish comprehensive, adaptable and ethical AI governance and ultimately, to steer the course of AI in a direction that preserves and promotes the best of what it means to be human.

AI is here to stay, and the challenge lies not in resisting its evolution but in ensuring that its trajectory aligns with our shared values, societal norms and collective well-being. We must ensure that AI, in all its forms, becomes a tool for good, a catalyst for progress and an engine for a more equitable and sustainable future.

This story was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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