On 18 July 2023, the United Nations Security Council held its first-ever debate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in connection with peace and security, during which the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Takei Shunsuke, highlighted the contributions of various initiatives by UN entities, including UNICRI’s work on AI in the context of counter-terrorism.
In his opening address, Secretary-General Guterres acknowledged the benefits of AI, while warning of the dangers of this new technology that is growing at an unprecedented rate.
While many have called for different measures and efforts to advance AI governance, Secretary-General Guterres said this requires a universal approach and there are already some starting points.
“The Office of Counter-Terrorism, working with the Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, has provided recommendations on how Member States can tackle the potential use of AI for terrorist purposes,” Secretary-General Guterres said.
Echoing similar sentiments, State Minister Takei emphasized the importance of “human-centric and trustworthy AI” that is “consistent with our democratic values and fundamental human rights.” He went on to note that, “Last month, Japan led discussions at the UN on the misuse of AI by terrorists by hosting a side event with UNOCT and UNICRI.”
UNICRI, in partnership with UNOCT, has worked to advance understanding of the threats and opportunities of AI in the context of counter-terrorism, notably releasing a report on the malicious use of AI for terrorist purposes. In addition to this, UNICRI has also led other initiatives on AI, including supporting responsible AI innovation in policing, exploring the responsible use of facial recognition technology, and supporting law enforcement to understand how AI can be used to investigate crimes against children through the AI for Safer Children initiative.