The Secretary-General of the United Nations cautions that artificial intelligence could potentially bring about a level of peril that surpasses our ability to manage.

NEW YORK — World leaders should quickly consider creating a global organization akin to the International Atomic Energy Agency to address both the benefits and the dangers of artificial intelligence — specifically, those associated with the fast-emerging realm of “generative A.I.” capable of creating text, images and videos.

In his opening speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the importance of that message.

“I cannot reword”

“Some of the individuals who created generative A.I. are even advocating for increased regulation,” he stated. “However, numerous risks associated with digital technology are not just approaching in the future, they are already present.”

The increasing utilization and widespread adoption in recent months of generative A.I. applications like ChatGPT, which generates responses similar to those of humans when prompted by users on electronic devices, has triggered a growing discussion regarding the potential benefits and drawbacks of this emerging technology globally.

In the United States, artificial intelligence has become a major point of contention in labor disputes within the entertainment industry, particularly in Hollywood. The Associated Press has observed that the emergence of technology capable of generating content without human creators has raised concerns among famous actors about losing control over their valuable likenesses. Similarly, lesser-known actors worry about being completely replaced, and writers are anxious about having to either share or lose credit to automated script-writing machines.

Mr. Guterres pointed to potentially more grave dangers associated with the largely unregulated emergence of A.I., asserting that “the digital divide” already is “inflaming inequalities.”

The U.N. secretary-general expressed concerns about the dissemination and intensification of hate speech and conspiracy theories through artificial intelligence on social media platforms. This poses a threat to democracy and contributes to real-life violence and conflict. The secretary-general also highlighted the negative impact of online surveillance and data collection, which facilitate widespread human rights violations. Finding effective solutions to these issues remains a significant challenge for both technology companies and governments.

“I cannot reword”

Mr. Guterres emphasized the pressing need for a worldwide agreement among governments, regional organizations, the private sector, and civil society to address the potential dangers of digital technologies and explore ways to utilize their advantages for the betterment of humanity.

He further stated that there are several possible models for an international organization to promote the initiative.

“I cannot reword”

He mentioned that the advisory body will offer suggestions before 2023 concludes. He proposed the possibility of a more official global organization focused on A.I. emerging at the U.N.’s “Summit of the Future” in 2024. Mr. Guterres referred to this event as a unique chance for advancements in addressing these novel threats.