Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world faster than the world can mitigate intensifying geopolitical divisions and socio-economic disparities. As technological change outpaces regulatory policy, no common platform has yet emerged to coordinate a variety of governance approaches across multiple national contexts. The concerns and interests of the citizens and civil society of the Global South must be prioritized by policymakers to reverse increasing fragmentation in the governance of algorithmic platforms and AI-powered systems worldwide.
The societies of Global South are entitled to both equitable economic benefits and meaningful protections from powerful platforms and tools largely controlled by corporations based in the Global North. This equity must be predicated upon what we define as an ‘AI constitutionalism’, which approaches AI and big data as fundamental resources within the modern economy.
Informed by discussions within a 21-member expert working group, of which our executive director, Anita Gurumurthy is a part, assembled by Initiate: Digital Rights in Society and the Paris Peace Forum, this paper proposes that AI constitutionalism and a rights-based approach should guide the development of high-level international protocols and conventions that will set policymaking standards for AI’s development and deployment, worldwide, and recommends several key actions to work toward a less fragmented AI policy landscape that incorporates the interests and concerns of Global South countries.