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G7 nations admit they're nowhere on AI regulation

Now they want to catch up, prevent crooks, protect IP ... real soon now … after more talking

A weekend of high-level diplomatic meetings has seen the G7 and the Quad blocs prioritize regulation of AI, cyber security, supply chains for critical minerals, and open radio access networks.

AI was high on the agenda at the G7 meeting, where leaders called for the adoption of governance standards.

"We recognize that, while rapid technological change has been strengthening societies and economies, the international governance of new digital technologies has not necessarily kept pace," the seven member nations – the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy – said in a joint statement.

The group also said it would work with technology companies and others to drive "responsible innovation and implementation of technologies." When it comes to generative AI in particular, the G7 said it would create a working group for discussions on governance, IP rights, disinformation and responsible use by the end of the year. It dubbed the initiative the "Hiroshima AI process."

The group also affirmed the importance of critical minerals and committed to promoting domestic and international recycling of the substances in collaboration with developing countries.

Another plan mentioned in the communiqué issued after the weekend meeting is to put in place a Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) initiative intended to allow cross-border data flows while maintaining personal privacy.

The group also stated it remained "seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Sea" and "strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion." In other words the G7 has not changed its position on Taiwan.

China's Foreign ministry spokesperson shot back from Beijing:

The international community does not and will not accept the G7-dominated Western rules that seek to divide the world based on ideologies and values, still less will it succumb to the rules of exclusive small blocs designed to serve "America-first" and the vested interests of the few. G7 needs to reflect on its behavior and change course.

On the sidelines of the G7, the "Quad" bloc of Australia, India, Japan, and the US focused on the somewhat obscure issue of Open RAN mobile networks.

The group agreed to assist the tropical island nation of Palau in the design and implementation of Open RAN, while partnering with local stakeholders.

The project will mark the first deployment of the technology planned in the region, which the Quad reckons will make Palau a "regional leader in ICT and digital connectivity."

The Quad's Critical and Emerging Technology working group released a report it said demonstrates Open RAN's cyber security advantage. It found that while most security threats affect both traditional network and open RAN deployments, only four percent are unique to Open RAN, and that mitigation measures are effective.

The Quad said the report will "serve as a global resource to support adoption of open, interoperable, and trusted network architectures."

Another infrastructure project the four countries will support is undersea internet connectivity cables. While Australia will be designing a $5 million Indo-Pacific Cable Connectivity and Resilience Program, the US will provide technical assistance and promised to oversee undersea security. ®

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