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Commonwealth Artificial Intelligence Consortium to meet in New York

Members of the Commonwealth Artificial Intelligence Consortium (CAIC) will meet next week in the margins of United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York, to endorse concrete plans to harness the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI) for sustainable development.

The meeting, scheduled for 18 September, reflects the Commonwealth Secretariat’s holistic approach towards ethical and responsible use of AI, in collaboration with global technology firms and world-leading research institutions and universities.

The CAIC, which was launched earlier this year, will deliver on the mandate set out by the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on equipping citizens with the skills needed to fully benefit from digital innovation and opportunities in cyberspace. In line with 2023 as the Commonwealth Year of Youth, it will also focus on engaging young people under the age of 30, who make up 60 percent of the combined population of the Commonwealth.

The CAIC Steering Committee, chaired by Rwanda and co-chaired by NVIDIA, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will drive collaboration with private sector and research partners to build on progress achieved during the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s visit to Silicon Valley in April, 2023. This visit had seen the launch of this consortium of global companies, start-ups, universities and non-profits willing to work together to bridge the digital and AI gaps and empower citizens, with a focus on small states.

The CAIC Steering Committee currently includes Champion Countries Rwanda, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Gambia, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said:

“It is a crucial but exciting time for the Commonwealth, as we look towards refining a clear vision and action plan to guide our approach to leveraging emerging technology for the benefit of all member nations and delivering meaningful and impactful outcomes.

“The creation of the CAIC, the establishment of a very committed Steering Committee, along with ongoing collaborations with tech partners and Research institutions, all signify the collective commitment to foster sustainable and inclusive AI advancements in the Commonwealth.”

The upcoming meeting will endorse a comprehensive AI action plan and will seek support from Champion Countries on the implementation of AI in four critical areas: Research and Innovation, Policy, Capacity Building and Infrastructure. Youth and Gender Empowerment are also cross-cutting themes. The focus would be to identify impactful projects for delivery across Commonwealth member states.

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