Business

G20 ministers agree on guiding principles for using artificial intelligence

by Masumi Koizumi

Staff Writer

Ministers from the Group of 20 major economies Saturday kicked off two days of meetings on trade and the digital economy, during which they agreed on guiding principles for using artificial intelligence. They also faced another round of discussions likely to highlight divisions over trade issues such as reform of the World Trade Organization.

The ministers agreed on the AI principles, which are created based on those adopted last month by the 36-member OECD and an additional six countries.

The G20 guidelines call for users and developers of AI to be fair and accountable, with transparent decision-making processes and to respect the rule of law and values including privacy, equality, diversity and internationally recognized labor rights.

Meanwhile, the principles also urge governments to ensure a fair transition for workers through training programs and access to new job opportunities.

China and Russia are among the G20 participants but are not signatories to the OECD principle

On Saturday, the ministers also agreed to work toward enabling the free flow of data across borders based on trust, a concept introduced by Japan, noting that information is a powerful resource for driving economic growth while acknowledging privacy and security concerns.

The concept, called Data Free Flow with Trust, or DFFT, was proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his speech in January at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, said, “There were differences in what element of trust each country values, but we could at least share the idea that trust promotes the free data flows, which lead to the economic development of the world as a whole.”

“It is meaningful that the term Data Free Flow with Trust was included in the joint statement,” he added.

For the trade meeting, which will begin on Sunday, the focus is likely to be on conflicting views of the multilateral trade system and WTO reform. While Japan backs a rules-based multilateral trade system under the WTO, the U.S. favors bilateral trade negotiations.

At the same time, the U.S., Japan and Europe are all pushing for the organization do more to address issues like industrial subsidies that distort markets, with China in mind.