Last week the political leaders of New Zealand, France, Canada, the UK and other countries from around the world joined together with leaders from international technology companies and civil society organisations to adopt the Christchurch Call, exactly two months on from the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques on March 15th which resulted in 51 people losing their lives.
The Christchurch Call is a commitment by Governments and tech companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The Call is an action plan that commits government and tech companies to a range of measures, including developing tools to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content; countering the roots of violent extremism; increasing transparency around the removal and detection of content, and reviewing how companies’ algorithms may drive users to violent extremist content.
While it is not the central concern of the Christchurch Call, there are many opportunities for the application of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to be used to help curb the dissemination of extremist content online. For example, AI is being used to train systems to automatically flag concerning content for people to review.
The AI Forum of New Zealand is an independent association of organisations which brings together a broad base of members from across the technology sector, industry, government and academia in New Zealand. The Forum’s mission is to harness the enormous potential of AI to support a prosperous, inclusive future for New Zealand.
The AI Forum’s Executive Council has today moved to formally adopt the Christchurch Call and to offer AI Forum members’ assistance to facilitate ongoing dialogue in New Zealand on the AI-related issues which are raised.
AI Forum NZ Executive Director Ben Reid said “The Christchurch Call directly addresses the issue of preventing terrorist and violent extremist content online by identifying practical measures for governments and technology companies to work together. AI technologies will play a role in this and the AI Forum is here to promote debate on how these tools can be deployed safely and responsibly, ensuring that respect for freedom of expression and other human rights, is retained.
“Furthermore in a wider context, Prime Minister Ardern’s leadership has set a new precedent for how elected governments around the world can collaborate meaningfully with global technology companies. We see the Christchurch Call provides a template for how international tech platforms, governments and importantly civil society, can work together to proactively address the impacts of new emerging technologies – many of which cross international borders. We applaud the New Zealand government’s engagement with the Christchurch Call and hope to see continued international discussions on the issues raised by new technologies.”
The AI Forum’s Working Group on Adapting to AI Effects on Law, Ethics and Society has published a post which examines the AI-related issues raised by the Christchurch Call.