G7 leaders, including the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and the European Union, announced that they will launch discussions this year on "responsible" use of generative AI technology.

A working group will be set up to tackle issues from copyright to disinformation, the seven leading economies said in a final communique released during a summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Text generation tools such as ChatGPT, image creators and music composed using AI have sparked delight, alarm and legal battles and governments worldwide are under pressure to move quickly to mitigate the risks.

The chief executive of ChatGPT's OpenAI told US lawmakers that regulating AI was essential. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before a US Senate panel and urged Congress to impose new rules on big tech.

"We recognize the need to immediately take stock of the opportunities and challenges of generative AI, which is increasingly prominent across countries and sectors," the G7 statement said. "We task relevant ministers to establish the Hiroshima AI process, through a G7 working group, in an inclusive manner... for discussions on generative AI by the end of this year," it said.

Discussions could include topics such as governance, safeguard of intellectual property rights, promotion of transparency and response to foreign information manipulation.

The new Hiroshima AI working group will be organized in cooperation with the OECD group of developed countries and the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), the statement added.

European Parliament lawmakers also took a first step towards EU-wide regulation of ChatGPT and other AI systems.

"While rapid technological change has been strengthening societies and economies, the international governance of new digital technologies has not necessarily kept pace," the G7 said.

For AI and other emerging technologies including immersive metaverses, "the governance of the digital economy should continue to be updated in line with our shared democratic values", the group said.

Among others, these values include fairness, respect for privacy and protection from online harassment, hate and abuse.

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