Table Of Contents

Beyond the North-South Fork on the Road to AI Governance:

An Action Plan for Democratic & Distributive Integrity*

* Acknowledging that the categories of South and North are not watertight, this paper argues for situating geopolitical and geo-economic power within the history of post-colonial development.

Working Group recommendations for a less fragmented AI policy landscape

Incorporating Global South perspectives

Democratic, multi-scalar, dialogue for international AI governance:

Regulatory principles for AI governance need to be based on a vision of human rights as integrated and indivisible, furthering democratic and distributive integrity. This calls for a multi-scalar dialogic process that leads up to a concrete consensus at the highest international level, prioritising the needs and interests of the people at the edges of the politico-economic order, especially from the Global South. Such a dialogue – while being led by governments – needs to be consultative, and engage various stakeholders from global to local levels, including the private sector, technical community, traditional development constituencies, and digital rights groups.

A global database that tracks and monitors AI legislation:

A global database of proposed and implemented AI legislation, acting as something of a first alert system for tracking best practices and regulatory blind spots from across the world, can facilitate an ongoing assessment of human rights and development implications of AI policies. The OECD’s Artificial Intelligence Policy Observatory offers a vital and laudable start to that end11. Still, in order to inform policy processes in a range of different contexts, and build civil society capacities for AI audits, a more dedicated Global South focus would be necessary.

National measures for corporate accountability in AI-based services:

Global South countries should make ex-ante social impact assessment reports compulsory for AI-based services offered by transnational corporations. Source code disclosure to appropriate authorities may also be needed in compliance with domestic laws to protect human rights and prevent market abuse.

Incentives to retain domestic AI talent in the Global South:

Incentives to prevent the exodus of early career AI scientists and engineers to Northern countries is critical for developing countries to leapfrog into the AI paradigm. Structural measures that ensure global tech companies invest in domestic research and development facilities in the South are important to build local AI capabilities and contribute to diversity in AI development ecosystems.

What is especially needed is a clear and unanimous rejection of anti-citizen abuses of AI technologies, algorithmic systems, and software. The prospect of AI being harnessed to infringe upon citizens’ rights and democratic public discourse presents a real threat. Particularly in the context of outcomes for Global South countries, these critical cybersecurity issues involving AI must be addressed at the highest level, with the goal of codifying protections through conventions, protocols, and other binding processes via existing intergovernmental organisations and international agencies, such as the UN.

Ungoverned, AI carries the risk of exacerbating socio-economic inequality, eroding civil rights, and undermining peace and economic development around the world. When developed, monitored, and applied in cooperative ways that correspond with widely-held standards of human rights, AI holds the potential to stimulate sustainable economic growth and reduce inequalities, promoting a durable peace for the whole world – South and North.