ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi has called for a binding global framework to guarantee the responsible use of AI and cyberspace and war­ned against unfair restrictions on developing countries’ access to emerging techn­ologies.

“Pakistan emphasises the need for international cooperation to develop a legally binding framework governing the responsible uses of cyberspace and artificial intelligence technologies,” the foreign secretary said on Friday while addressing the concluding session of a workshop in Islamabad.

The event was jointly hosted by the Centre for Intern­­ational Strategic Stud­ies (CISS) in collaboration with the Geneva-based United Nations Instit­ute for Disarmament Rese­arch (UNIDIR), accor­­ding to a press release.

The workshop focused on exploring the convergence of AI and cyberspace in the context of global security, the security impacts of emerging technologies and their ethical considerations.

Mr Qazi emphasised that Pakistan believes in “a rule-based international order” that promotes transparency, accountability and the protection of critical civilian infrastructure.

He explained that Pakistan’s position on AI is characterised by “a recognition of the technology’s dual nature, a commitment to international collaboration for responsible governance, active participation in global discussions, an inclusive approach to policymaking, and advocacy for equitable access to AI technologies for all nations, especially developing countries”.

The foreign secretary said that Pakistan acknowledges the dual nature of these technologies.

The unregulated military uses of AI pose challenges to global and regional security, Mr Qazi said and reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to address these challenges.

Pakistan is talking to the international community “to address cyber threats and mitigate the risks posed by AI’s military applications”.

Pakistan strongly supports fair, unconditional, and equitable access to new and emerging technologies for all countries, the foreign secretary said and voiced his opposition to the undue restrictions on access to emerging technologies.

According to Mr Qazi, the government is also advocating for an inclusive approach involving all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society, to collectively develop strategies for a safe, secure, stable and open cyberspace.

‘Undue restrictions’

“Such restrictions, especially in the name of security, could hinder the development of countries in the realms of science and technology, risking the creation of a new layer of discrimination between developed and developing countries.”

UNIDIR’s senior researcher Dongyoun Cho said data is “the main driver of recent advancements in AI, but it also leads to many ethical issues.

“It can produce ethical and humanitarian problems as it can be incomplete, low-quality, incorrect or false,” Ms Cho added.

CISS Executive Director Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said technological advancements profoundly influence all aspects of life and are “shaping our understanding of security”.

“It underscores the importance of comprehending the challenges presented by these new frontiers in technology.”

He called for “a proactive and informed response” to navigate the challenges posed by these technological changes.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2023

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