'AI can be a great equalizer, with some caveats': South Korean PM Han Duck-soo

When asked if South Korea would be an AI winner, Han Duck-soo responded, 'I believe so because, in digitalization, Korea is one of the countries that stands at the forefront.'

'AI can be a great equalizer, with some caveats': South Korean PM Han Duck-soo
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On day two of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, world leaders gathered on stage to discuss how to ensure ‘equal access’ to artificial intelligence (AI) in a session titled, ‘AI: The Great Equalizer?’

The panel was moderated by CNBC anchor Karen Tso, and featured South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, among others.

The speakers were unanimous in their enthusiasm for utilizing AI in many different fields, and although little was said about the technology’s potential downsides, Prime Minister Han warned of the risks of AI that should be taken into account.

“Mitigation against the possibility of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside nuclear warfare,” he said.

When asked if South Korea will be an AI winner, Han responded, “I believe so, because in digitalization, Korea is one of the countries that stands at the forefront.”

AI is also more of an opportunity than a challenge, according to Rwanda's minister of information and communications, Paula Ingabire. She said that the leveraging of AI into different sectors of the economy has made a contribution 6% of Rwanda's GDP by in the past year. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is another country that is heavily investing in future technologies like AI, and Abdullah Alswaha, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology, was asked how AI will propel the oil-rich nation's economy towards it's "2030 vision."

"Generative AI as a general purpose technology is definitely going to transform humanity as we know it today."

He explained how AI has contributed to the creation of gene-editing nanotechnology:

With generative AI, in partnership with Google, we have launched Google Cloud Note last August, and a startup called Nano Pal which actually leveraged generative AI to do direct formulations... a drug that historically used to cost $3 million [is now] to date $300,000 in less than two years... [AI is]leveraging language models to correlate proteins and enzymes with nanorobots that inserted through your skin can penetrate the walls of cells and do genetic editing to prevent those genetic diseases.

United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology, Amandeep Singh Gill, argued that AI is not currently "the great equalizer," and there needs to be "great effort" to bring the technology to the forefront of health, agriculture, and other sectors.

Singh Gill said that in order to do this, "we need good governance, so we can earn the trust of the users, the public at large. We [need to] address some of the misuses, the risks that are clearly out there, misinformation, disinformation, exclusion of certain communities, surveillance  whether that is by the government or other companies  — which impacts our individual rights."

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