UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently launched the AI Advisory Body which will support the international community's efforts to govern artificial intelligence.  

Adjunct Assistant Professor Abeba Birhane is one of 38 global experts to be selected for this prestigious high-level body.  

“For developing economies, AI offers the possibility of leapfrogging outdated technologies and bringing services directly to people who need them most. The transformative potential of AI for good is difficult even to grasp. And without entering into a host of doomsday scenarios, it is already clear that the malicious use of AI could undermine trust in institutions, weaken social cohesion and threaten democracy itself,” Mr. Guterres said. 

 “For all these reasons, I have called for a global, multidisciplinary, multistakeholder conversation on the governance of AI so that its benefits to humanity – all of humanity – are maximized, and the risks contained and diminished.” 

Dr Birhane recently featured in the Time’s inaugural TimeAI 100 list for her research exploring the challenges and pitfalls of automating human behaviour through critical examination of existing models and audits of large scale datasets used for training state-of-the-art AI models. 

Speaking about her appointment to the UN AI Advisory Body, Birhane said “Current narratives about AI almost always overly emphasise abstract potential and future benefits while undermining (or entirely ignoring) actual concrete harms. The uneven distribution of harms and benefits – where a handful of corporations developing and deploying these technologies benefit while individuals and groups at the margins of society are often disproportionately harmed – is also rarely acknowledged.  

I am honoured to be part of the UN’s Advisory Body on AI and I will do my best to ensure that these critical questions are part of the ongoing AI conversation.” 


Full listing of the UN AI Advisory Body: AI Advisory Body | United Nations