UN Secretary General urges creation of global AI watchdog: “We must take these warnings seriously”

With generative AI developers themselves among the loudest voices giving off “alarm bells” over the tech’s latest developments, PMW spoke to Martech experts to get their take on potential AI-safeguards.

The creation of an international artificial intelligence (AI) watchdog body has been supported by the United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The proposal was posited by several AI executives who argue that the body should be commensurate in scope and power with other organisations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which ensures safe use of nuclear technologies.

Guterres told reporters: "Alarm bells over the latest form of artificial intelligence – generative AI – are deafening. And they are loudest from the developers who designed it.

"We must take those warnings seriously."

Guterres said work on creation of an AI advisory body would start by the end of the year but noted that if it is to work, "only member states can create it, not the Secretariat of the United Nations". Highlighting the need for relative global agreeance in the creation of a watchdog body.

“It’s critical to get the balance right”

Responding to the news, Joanna Reynolds, Managing Director of martech company Bordeaux & Burgundy, said: “The rapid rise of AI adoption means that many firms are already benefiting from the numerous advantages of this technology, yet few safeguards are in place.

“When it comes to regulating new technology, it’s critical to get the balance right between protecting users without slowing innovation, so a global watchdog to raise standards could be a good way to keep AI in check.”

Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of marketing automation platform Deployteq, is similarly optimistic that a body intended to safeguard use of AI could be a good way to provide assurances of responsible use.

He said: “Tools like generative AI can help rather than hinder the creative work of marketers, but the idea of raising global standards through a global watchdog could help build confidence in the future of the industry.

“Used correctly, AI can bring huge benefits, but ensuring companies and individuals follow best practice will allow a level of accountability and governance so that these powerful tools are deployed correctly and kept in check.”