"Hundreds of developers, academics and leading experts in the field of AI have recently alerted us" to the risk of extinction of humanity, recalled the president of the European executive, in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Reducing this risk "should be a global priority, along with other risks threatening society as a whole, such as pandemics and nuclear war," she said.

Artificial intelligence "is evolving faster than its designers themselves had anticipated. So we have little time left to steer this technology responsibly," she said, calling for a "new global framework for AI, based on three pillars: safeguards, governance and innovation orientation."

"We should work together with our partners to all have the same understanding of the impact of AI in our societies," she said, citing "the invaluable contribution of the IPCC to climate, the global panel that provides policymakers with the latest science."

"I think we need a similar organ for AI, in terms of its risks and benefits to humanity. This body would bring together scientists, technology companies and independent experts. This will allow us to develop swift and coordinated action at global level," von der Leyen said.

The dissemination on social networks of fake images, more real than life, created from applications like Midjourney, has warned of the dangers of artificial intelligence systems for democracy.

The potential of these technologies, which can also write essays, compose music or facilitate medical diagnoses, fascinates as much as it worries.

The EU hopes to conclude before the end of the year the world's first regulation to regulate these innovations. However, it will not enter into force until 2026.

In particular, future legislation should ban applications for mass surveillance of citizens, and impose standards on a list of services considered to be at risk.

It is currently the subject of negotiations between the 27 EU member states and the European Parliament. "Our AI legislation is already a model for the whole world. We must now adopt the rules as soon as possible and move on to their implementation," von der Leyen said.

© 2023 AFP