The UN is hustling to play a role – perhaps even a leading role – in the revolution of Artificial Intelligence. To some degree this is perfectly natural.
Recently when I was asked to offer my thoughts on the phenomenal advances of artificial intelligence (AI) and
whether the United Nations play a role in its global governance, I was reminded of the Three Laws of Robotics
which are a set of rules devised by science fiction
author Isaac Asimov
and introduced in his1942 short story.
The frighteningly rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have triggered the question: is there a UN role for monitoring and regulating it?
Citing a report from the Center for AI Safety, the New York Times reported last week that a group of over 350 AI industry leaders warned that artificial intelligence poses a growing new danger to humanity –and should be considered a “societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars”.
Global fisheries are worth more than US$140 billion each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. But this hefty sum does not capture the true value of fish to ocean health, and to the food security and cultures of communities around the world.
When the UN displayed a female robot back in February 2019, it was a peek into the future: a fast-paced, cutting-edge digital technology where humans may one day be replaced with machines and robots.
However, a joke circulating in the UN delegate’s lounge at that time was the possibility, perhaps in a distant future, of a robot-- a female robot-- as the UN Secretary-General in a world body which has been dominated by nine secretaries-general, all male, over the last 78 years.
Last month, we joined more than 1000 representatives from all sectors of civil society who came together in Santiago de Chile to debate the future of – and threats to - public services the world over.
The multilateral system, even in the face of heightened geopolitical tension and big power rivalry, remains the uniquely inclusive vehicle for managing mutual interdependencies in ways that enhance national and global welfare. The complex challenges of a global pandemic, climate emergency, inequality and the risk of nuclear conflict cannot be dealt with by one country or one region alone. Coordinated collective action is required.
In these times when all sorts of human rights violations have been ‘normalised,’ a crime which continues to be perpetrated everywhere but punished nowhere: corruption is also seen as a business as usual. A business, by the way, that relies on the wide complicity of official authorities.
Natural flows do not respect national boundaries. The atmosphere and oceans cross international borders with little difficulty, as greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other fluids, including pollutants, easily traverse frontiers.
The recent incidents of sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the depths of the Baltic Sea, the authorship of which still raises doubts today, have reminded us that some of the key infrastructures that condition geopolitics, and our daily lives, are largely located deep under the sea.
The decision to cut oil production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies as of Nov. 1 comes in response to the need to face a shrinking market, although it also forms part of the current clash between Russia and the West.
Widespread adverse reactions to the UK government’s recent ‘mini-budget’ forced new Prime Minister Liz Truss to resign. The episode highlighted problems of macroeconomic policy coordination and the interests involved.
Finance ministers of the G20 and the world met in Washington, October 10-16, to discuss how to navigate multiple crises, including rising cost-of-living, broken global supply chains, climate shocks, and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
As much of the world was starting to glimpse recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it now finds itself amid a cost-of-living crisis
brought on by disruptions in global energy and food markets that are the result of conflict and climate change.
Illegal and excessive fishing, mainly attributed to Chinese fleets, remains a threat to marine resources in the eastern Pacific and southwest Atlantic, as well as to that sector of the economy in Latin American countries bathed by either ocean.
Joining or ratifying dubious trade deals is supposed to offer miraculous solutions to recent lacklustre economic progress. Such naïve advocacy is misleading at best, and downright irresponsible, even reckless, at worst.
TPP ‘pivot to Asia’
US President Barack Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ after his 2012 re-election sought to check China’s sustained economic growth and technological progress. Its economic centrepiece was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Developing countries are facing a combination of crises that are unprecedented in recent times. Over the last three years they have had to face the COVID-19 crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis, the climate change crisis, the debt crisis and, on top of all this, a global recession. The crises have overlapped, and each has added to the problems created by the previous ones.
Developing countries – in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America and in the Middle East - are facing a combination of crises that are unprecedented in recent times. Over the last three years they have had to face the COVID-19 crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis, the climate change crisis, the debt crisis and, on top of all this, a global recession. The crises have overlapped, and each has added to the problems created by the previous ones.
New outcries for gun control have followed the horrible tragedies of mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. “Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died,” President Biden declared over the weekend during a university commencement address.
A class war is being waged in the name of fighting inflation. All too many central bankers are raising interest rates at the expense of working people’s families, supposedly to check price increases.
Central bank policies have often worsened economic crises instead of resolving them. By raising interest rates in response to inflation, they often exacerbate, rather than mitigate business cycles and inflation.