mmuniz2_Malte MuellerGetty Images_AIrobot Malte Mueller/Getty Images

AI, Democracy, and the Global Order

For decades, diplomats and international policymakers have treated technology as a “sectoral” matter best left to energy, finance, or defense ministries. But the sudden arrival of groundbreaking AI tools has created an urgent need for a more holistic and global approach to tech governance.

MADRID/NEW DELHI – Future historians may well mark the second half of March 2023 as the moment when the era of artificial intelligence truly began. In the space of just two weeks, the world witnessed the launch of GPT-4, Bard, Claude, Midjourney V5, Security Copilot, and many other AI tools that have surpassed almost everyone’s expectations. These new AI models’ apparent sophistication has beaten most experts’ predictions by a decade.

For centuries, breakthrough innovations – from the invention of the printing press and the steam engine to the rise of air travel and the internet – have propelled economic development, expanded access to information, and vastly improved health care and other essential services. But such transformative developments have also had negative implications, and the rapid deployment of AI tools will be no different.

AI can perform tasks that individuals are loathe to do. It can also deliver education and health care to millions of people who are neglected under existing frameworks. And it can greatly enhance research and development, potentially ushering in a new golden age of innovation. But it also can supercharge the production and dissemination of fake news; displace human labor on a large scale; and create dangerous, disruptive tools that are potentially inimical to our very existence.