The Korea Herald


Yoon proposes UN body to set up digital norms

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : June 21, 2023 - 18:03

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President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks at the Paris Digital Vision Forum held at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday (local time). (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks at the Paris Digital Vision Forum held at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday (local time). (Yonhap)

PARIS -- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday proposed to create an organization under the United Nations to establish norms for digital order, highlighting the paradox wherein new digital technologies enhance people's lives with convenience while simultaneously posing threats to human freedom.

At the Paris Digital Vision Forum held at Sorbonne University, Yoon proposed the idea dubbed the "Paris Initiative," stressing the significant role of digital technologies -- specifically data and artificial intelligence -- in addressing long-standing unresolved issues. However, he also acknowledged that AI technologies such as ChatGPT, Bard and LLaMA have reached the ability to create, an area previously considered unique to humans based on the ability to understand language.

Recent developments in AI technology trigger a "rise to substantial ambiguity" regarding the origin of creativity and legal rights, while simultaneously "presenting social risks" that hinder the ability to manage the process and outcomes effectively, he said.

“Digital has no borders, has connectivity and immediacy,” Yoon said. “That is why a universal digital order that is internationally accepted is important.”

To safeguard the community from potential risks associated with digital development and utilization, the president proposed the prompt sharing and dissemination of risk information.

“Violation of those regulations is an illegal act and should be followed by strong sanctions,” he said, urging the international community to “work closely together in the operation of the regulatory system,” in other words, “the enforcement of digital norms.”

Proposing the establishment of an international organization to enact digital order norms that can specifically apply and standardize the basic principles of the digital ethical norms, he said it is desirable that “UN-affiliated organizations take the lead to reach an international consensus.”

According to his deputy security adviser, Kim Tae-hyo, at a press briefing a day earlier, the Paris Initiative comprehensively covers all areas of digital technology, including data and computer capabilities. Going one step beyond the digital divide noted in his "New York Initiative" announced last September, the strength of Yoon's Paris Initiative lies in its applicability to any country at any stage of its digital journey, according to his office.

The Paris Initiative sounds the alarm over a lack of ethics in the digital arena, where the exponential growth of artificial intelligence capabilities is expected to exert powerful influence on economies, societies, politics, security and human identity, the office explained. Since the establishment of a new AI code of ethics has become a global concern, the US has announced a blueprint for the AI Bill of Rights, and the EU Parliament recently passed an AI regulatory bill, it added.