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ISC Insight | A Guide for Policy-makers: Evaluating Rapidly Developing Technologies Including AI, Large Language Models and Beyond

Ahead of the OECD ministerial meeting on science and technology, the ISC is advocating for a framework to inform policymakers on the multiple global and national discussions taking place related to AI.

As the global community gathers for the OECD Ministerial-level meeting on Science and Technology Policy on 23-34 April 2024, it is clear that the rapid advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models is reshaping our world. In this transformative era, the International Science Council (ISC) has released its pivotal resource: "A Guide for Policy-makers: Evaluating Rapidly Developing Technologies Including AI, Large Language Models and Beyond." This guide is an indispensable tool for policy-makers grappling with the pace and complexity of technological change.

The ISC's guide offers a comprehensive framework designed to bridge the gap between high-level principles and practical, actionable policy. It responds to the urgent need for a common understanding of both the opportunities and risks presented by emerging technologies. As Hema Sridhar, co-author of the report and former Chief Science Adviser at the Ministry of Defence, New Zealand, now Senior Research Fellow at the University of Auckland, puts it:

"The framework is a critical step in the global conversation on AI as it provides a basis from which we can build consensus on the implications of the technology for both now and into the future," said Hema Sridhar.

This guide is not merely academic; it is a call to action for the scientific and policy-making community alike. It provides a validated taxonomy of issues that merit consideration, supporting governments as they develop national AI strategies and policies. For instance, the European Union's AI Act mandates that organizations implementing AI technologies conduct thorough impact assessments to evaluate potential risks and establish appropriate management strategies. The framework proposed by the ISC enhances this requirement by offering a structured, comprehensive approach to these assessments. By leveraging the ISC's taxonomy of considerations, policy-makers and technologists can systematically analyse the broader implications of AI applications—not just in terms of immediate risks, but also considering long-term societal, environmental, and geopolitical impacts. This makes it possible to more effectively align AI deployments with both regulatory expectations and societal values.

Moreover, the framework is designed to be adaptable, serving as a foundation for horizon scanning, risk assessment, and the enhancement of ethical principles governing AI use. By providing a systematic approach to evaluate the impacts of AI, from societal to geopolitical, the guide ensures that the deployment of these technologies aligns with societal values and regulatory standards.

As ministers, community and ISC representatives convene at the OECD headquarters in Paris, this guide serves as a critical resource for all stakeholders — from policy-makers to industry leaders and civil society. It facilitates a deeper understanding of the stakes involved and fosters a collaborative approach to technology governance. Peter Gluckman, ISC President and co-author of the report will make an intervention at the OECD meeting on transformative science, technology and innovation for the green transition. The report will be also be shared at the special ministerial working lunch on Artificial intelligence for Science, Technology & Innovation.

"In an era marked by rapid technological innovation and complex global challenges, the ISC's framework for comprehensive and multidimensional analysis of the potential impacts empowers leaders to make informed, responsible decisions. It ensures that as we advance technologically, we do so with a careful consideration of the ethical, social, and economic implications," said Peter Gluckman, ISC President.

Join us in embracing this tool to shape a future where technology amplifies our potential without compromising our values.

Report Download: https://council.science/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/A-guide-for-policy-makers_AI.pdf

For detailed news release: https://council.science/current/news/unlocking-the-future-a-guide-for-navigating-rapidly-developing-technologies/