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G7 Digital Ministers Tackle AI Governance and Cross-Border Data Flows

Source: G7 2023 Hiroshima Summit

G7 Digital and Technology Ministers met in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, on 29-30 April to discuss digital economy issues.

The two-day meeting in preparation for the G7 Hiroshima Summit focused on six policy agendas, including cross-border data flows, digital infrastructure, internet governance, emerging technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) governance, and digital competition.

Ministers endorsed the establishment of the Institutional and Arrangement for Partnership.

They adopted the G7 Vision for Operationalising Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT), as well as the G7 Action Plans for building a secure and resilient digital infrastructure, promoting an open and secure internet, and fostering global interoperability of AI tools.

They also agreed to convene a Digital Competitiveness Summit in autumn 2023.

Amid growing concerns about applications of generative AI, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, ministers stressed the need to accelerate discussions on responsible use and governance.

The rapid development of such technologies has raised concerns about job losses, the spread of misinformation, and potential misuse by authoritarian states.

The meeting also focused on the DFFT concept, initially proposed by Japan, which aims to facilitate smooth data exchange across borders.

G7 members seek to establish a new international framework to promote DFFT at a G7 meeting in May.

They also agreed to operationalize the plan by establishing an institutional framework with a secretariat, as data becomes critical in the expanding digital economy.

Despite the growing number of data localization measures worldwide, many companies stress the importance of the DFFT, as increasing barriers to international data flows can hamper business operations.

G7 ministers shared that AI technologies should be "human-centered" and not undermine democratic values while highlighting the need for standardization in AI applications.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the UK, France, the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Union, Ukraine, Indonesia, and India.

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