UN Security Council to hold its first meeting on AI

The United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Barbara Woodward, has announced a landmark meeting on 18 July to address the potential threats of AI to global peace and security, aiming for a multilateral approach.

Photo of the UN HQ in New York with flags of member states.

The Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN Security Council, Barbara Woodward, has announced its plans to hold a landmark meeting addressing the potential threats posed by AI to global peace and security. The meeting, scheduled for 18 July, is organised by the United Kingdom. The UK’s initiative comes in response to concerns about AI’s possible misuse, such as its application in autonomous weapons systems or its potential role in nuclear weapons control. The aim is to encourage a multilateral approach to managing AI’s implications.

While acknowledging the substantial benefits of AI, such as its potential to enhance UN development programs, improve humanitarian aid operations, and support conflict prevention through data analysis, Ambassador Woodward underscored the need to address the significant security questions raised by AI. The UK aims to foster a comprehensive dialogue among the 15 Security Council members to examine the implications of AI and seek potential solutions.

The meeting will include presentations from global experts in AI and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has been outspoken about the dangers associated with advanced AI technology. Guterres has described the concerns raised by scientists and experts as ‘deafening’ and has compared to the existential threat of AI to the risk of nuclear war. He plans to establish an advisory board on AI in September to develop initiatives that the UN can undertake. Guterres also expressed openness to the idea of a new UN agency on AI, citing the International Atomic Energy Agency as a potential model due to its knowledge-based approach and regulatory powers.