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New technologies Nobel Prize winning chemist voices AI concerns

Jacques Dubochet, the Swiss winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Dubochet was taking part in a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) conference in Geneva on Monday 


Jacques Dubochet, the Swiss winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, has called for greater control over new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). 

“I don’t know whether computers will have a conscience… but we have to control these developments,” Dubochet told ministers, leading scientists and innovators taking part in the 21st session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)external link in Geneva on Monday. 

The renowned Swiss scientist told the participants at the five-day meeting organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that a moratorium should be imposed on many new technologies to evaluate how dangerous they are. 

He insisted that governments should take a precautionary approach towards new technologies which “concern everyone everywhere”. 

+ How can artificial intelligence be leveraged for the greater good?

His comments were made ahead of the 2nd AI for Good Global Summit in Genevaexternal link, organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which takes place from May 15-17. 

The annual event, which brings together public and private-sector decision-makers, including many UN agencies, seeks to leverage AI to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


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