(Adds comments from G7 leaders, background on opposition to AI growth)
By Kantaro Komiya and Supantha Mukherjee
TOKYO, May 20 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations on Saturday called for the development and adoption of technical standards to keep artificial intelligence (AI) “trustworthy”, saying governance of the technology has not kept pace with its growth.
While the G7 leaders, meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, recognised that the approaches to achieving “the common vision and goal of trustworthy AI may vary”, they said in a statement the rules for digital technologies like AI should be “in line with our shared democratic values”.
The agreement came after the European Union, which participates in the G7, inched closer this month to passing legislation to regulate AI technology, potentially the world’s first comprehensive AI law that could form a precedent among the advanced economies.
“We want AI systems to be accurate, reliable, safe and non-discriminatory, regardless of their origin,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
The G7 leaders said they “need to immediately take stock of the opportunities and challenges of generative AI”, a subset of the technology popularised by the ChatGPT app.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT pushed Elon Musk and a group of AI experts to raise an alarm in March calling for a six-month pause in developing more powerful systems, citing potential risks to society. A month later, EU lawmakers urged world leaders to find ways to control AI technologies, saying they were developing faster than expected.
The United States so far has taken a cautious approach on governing AI, with President Joe Biden last month saying it remained to be seen whether AI is dangerous. Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the U.S. should consider licensing and testing requirements for development of AI models.
Japan, this year’s chair of G7, has been even more accommodative, pledging support for public and industrial adoption of AI while monitoring its risks. “It’s important to properly deal with both the potentials and risks,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the government’s AI council last week.
The Western nations’ differing approaches to AI are in contrast to China’s restrictive policy. Its cyberspace regulator in April unveiled draft measures to align generative AI-powered services with the country’s core socialist values.
While acknowledging differences on how AI should be regulated, the G7 leaders agreed on Friday to create a ministerial forum dubbed the “Hiroshima AI process” to discuss issues around generative AI, such as copyrights and disinformation, by the end of this year.
The leaders also urged international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to consider analysis on the impact of policy developments.
The summit followed a G7 digital ministers’ meeting last month, where its members – the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and the EU – said they should adopt “risk-based” AI rules.
The EU and U.S. are also expected to exchange views on the emerging technologies at the Trade and Technology Council in Sweden on May 30-31. (Reporting by Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke in Hiroshima; Editing by William Mallard)