In their recent essay, “The World Needs A Global AI Observatory,” Geoff Mulgan and Divya Siddarth make a compelling argument for establishing a global institution to guide policy and decision-making in the swiftly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI). I find their arguments compelling and timely.
Professor of collective intelligence, public policy, and social innovation Mulgan, and political economist and social technologist, Siddarth contribute a wealth of knowledge to the table. Their in-depth comprehension of the complexities of AI governance is evident in their analysis of the current environment and proposed solution.
The authors identify four groups presently grappling with AI governance: major corporations, prominent technologists, governments, and transnational organizations. They contend that each group has its own limitations and blind areas. For example, corporations are primarily concerned with minimizing operational restrictions, while technologists struggle to translate theoretical concerns into practical solutions. Despite making some progress, governments frequently fail to comprehend the magnitude and complexity of the challenge completely. Meanwhile, international organizations have yet to produce concrete proposals.
These initiatives fail, according to Mulgan and Siddarth, because they attempt to fit AI into existing frameworks, such as human rights, copyright law, and economic growth. However, AI is a general-purpose technology that permeates numerous facets of daily life, necessitating a more holistic approach.
Modeled after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authors propose establishing a Global AI Observatory (GAIO). The GAIO would provide trustworthy data, models, and interpretations to inform AI policy and decision-making. Given the rapid development of AI technologies, it would need to operate more quickly than the IPCC, but it would serve a similar function in guiding government action.
This proposal is a substantial contribution to the ongoing dialogue regarding AI governance. It acknowledges the difficulty of the issue and proposes a pragmatic, forward-thinking solution. The GAIO would serve as a center for exchanging ideas and best practices and providing a much-needed global perspective on AI governance.
The establishment of a GAIO, however, would also pose new questions. How would the project be financed? How would it guarantee that all regions and sectors of society are represented? How would it strike a balance between the need for prompt action and the need for comprehensive analysis? In the future, policymakers, technologists, and society must contend with these issues.
Mulgan and Siddarth’s essay is a clarion appeal for a more coordinated and comprehensive AI governance strategy. It emphasizes the task’s urgency and suggests a promising course of action. As we navigate the murky terrain of AI governance, the GAIO could serve as a much-needed beacon, guiding us toward a future in which AI is utilized for the good of all.