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Swiss President calls for global governance against AI disinformation threats

Swiss President Viola Amherd on Tuesday said that rapid advances in artificial intelligence are allowing disinformation appear more credible and cautioned against policies based on lies.

She said digitisation at the same time also offers the potential for greater transparency and the sharing of knowledge and information.

“This can help to build trust if used correctly. Switzerland is particularly committed to promoting the global governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI),” she said in her opening address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 here.

“Those who base their policies on lies and ideologies may be able to score points in the short term. But in the medium and long term, they will lose trust. Good policies are based on verified facts and take scientific findings into account,” she added.

The president said that the title motto of this year’s annual meeting, ‘Rebuilding trust’, is not just a catch phrase but shows rather starkly that mutual trust among the global community is currently in a bad phase.

“The rules of the game are increasingly being called into question.

“Authoritarian or even totalitarian ideas are sometimes being accepted, as if the lessons of the twentieth century had been forgotten,” she rued.

The fact that authoritarian regimes also undermine democratic values and institutions beyond their own borders contributes to this loss of trust, she said.

Further, the president said that trust is quickly frittered away, but is hard to win back. In terms of innovation, investment and economic development, it is not simply ‘nice to have’, it is essential,” she added.

Amherd said rebuilding trust is possible but it requires dialogue and respect, and clear rules that are universally adhered to.

She called for an open and transparent exchange on a priority basis, not only between countries but also with and between organisations in the multilateral system.

“We must strengthen the UN and other global and regional institutions so that they can once again play their role as platforms for dialogue more effectively. This is precisely why Switzerland supports the reform agenda put forward by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,” she said.

“We also need to realise that real compromises are necessary. We must prevent power politics from destroying the basis of our existence,” she added.

“Agreements and compromises must then also be implemented. Tangible implementation is important for credibility and engenders trust. This includes a renewed respect for the UN Charter, other international treaties and other globally agreed measures,” she said.

“Some sections of the public distrust all of us gathered here, and all political and business leaders in general.

“‘Rebuilding trust’ is not just a task for states and politicians. Business leaders also have a role to play here. It is clear that increasing social inequalities are fuelling populism, even in prosperous countries, she said.

The president said Switzerland’s neutrality, commitment and dependability can be valuable in resolving conflicts. PTI

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