Council of Europe adopts first international treaty on AI

Council of Europe adopts first international treaty on AI
Council of Europe adopts first international treaty on AI

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Europe’s top rights organisation today adopted the first ever legally binding international treaty governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI). — Reuters pic

STRASBOURG, May 17 — Europe’s top rights organisation today adopted the first ever legally binding international treaty governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Experts have called on international organisations and governments to mitigate risks from AI technology, which is expected to transform nearly every aspect of human life in the coming years.

“The treaty, which is also open to non-European countries, sets out a legal framework that covers the entire lifecycle of AI systems and addresses the risks they may pose, while promoting responsible innovation,” the Council of Europe said in a statement.

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The text was adopted at the annual ministerial meeting of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which brings together the foreign ministers of the 46 member states.

“The Framework Convention on Artificial Intelligence is a first-of-its-kind, global treaty that will ensure that Artificial Intelligence upholds people’s rights,” Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic said in a statement.

“With this new treaty, we aim to ensure a responsible use of AI that respects human rights, the rule of law and democracy.”

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The convention is the result of two years of work by an intergovernmental body, which brought together the Council’s 46 member states, the European Union and 11 non-member states including the United States and the Vatican, as well as representatives of civil society and academia.

Among other provisions, the treaty requires parties to ensure that AI systems are not used to undermine democratic institutions and processes, the Council of Europe said.

“Transparency and oversight requirements” would include “identifying content generated by AI systems” to users, it added.

The framework convention will be opened for signature in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, at a conference of justice ministers in September.

In March, the European Parliament adopted the world’s most far-reaching rules to govern artificial intelligence, including powerful systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Senior EU officials have said the rules, first proposed in 2021, will protect citizens from the risks of a technology developing at breakneck speed, while also fostering innovation on the continent. — AFP

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