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The need for effective AI governance has never been more pressing

--By Consul-General You Wenze, published on Cape Times, November 24

AT THE AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK on November 2, world leaders and top tech executives discussed the risks around artificial intelligence (AI) and how to develop the technology safely.

Twenty-eight countries, including China, signed the Bletchley Declaration, an agreement to recognise the dangers of the technology.

As AI continues to reshape industries, societies and economies worldwide, the need for effective governance has never been more pressing.

China, a global AI powerhouse,has been actively engaged in shaping the future of AI governance through a series of initiatives aimed at fostering international collaboration andsetting ethical standards.

AI technologies hold immense potential for addressing complex challenges, from health-care advancements to climate change mitigation.However, their deployment also raises significant ethical, legal and social concerns, including issues related to data privacy, bias and algorithmic transparency.

Effective global AI governance is essential to ensure that AI are developed and used in ways that benefit humanity while minimising potential risks.

China has recognised the importance of international co-operation in the field of AI governance and has taken concrete steps to promote collaboration and ethical standards on a global scale.

Some of the key initiatives and proposals put forth by China in this regard include:

China  has  proposed  the establishment of the World Artificial Intelligence Organisation (WAIO),an international organisation dedicated to AI governance. While the details are still being worked out, WAIO’s primary objective is to facilitate co-operation among countries, research institutions and industry players to address AI-related challenges collectively.

China has also actively engaged with the UN in discussions related to AI ethics and governance. The country supports the UN’s efforts to explore the ethical implications of AI and actively participates in UN forums addressing AI’s societal impact.

Chinese companies and organisations actively contribute to the development of international standards for AI ethics and safety. It collaborates with international bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization to shape global AI standards.

As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China promotes co-operation in AI research and development with partner countries. The initiative aims to foster the responsible and ethical use of AI technologies while facilitating their global dissemination.

China’s initiatives signal its intention to play a proactive role in shaping the global AI governance landscape. While the proposals are in various stages of development, they underscore the importance of international collaboration in addressing the ethical and regulatory challenges posed by AI.

Moreover, according to a PwC study, the added value of AI technologies in Africa is estimated to reach $1.2 trillion (R22.5 trillion). AI technologies could be used to solve several development problems on the continent.

Several African countries have begun to explore AI to meet their development needs. In the health field in South Africa, AI technologies are being used for rapid HIV testing.

Given the potential of AI to drive economic growth and address critical challenges in Africa, it is imperative that the continent also participates and joins the initiative with China for AI governance.

As AI continues to reshape our world, it is imperative that nationswork together to establish common ethical guidelines and standards.

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