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The Great Tech Revolution: Artificial General Intelligence & Multilateral Development Banks

By prioritizing ethics and sustainable development, providing technical assistance, and coordinating responses to potential risks, multilateral development banks can help ensure that artificial general intelligence is developed and used in a way that benefits everyone and minimizes potential harms.

Artificial Intelligence illustration

The world is experiencing a remarkable technological revolution that is altering the course of human history. The internet and computing power have already transformed the way we interact with each other and the world around us, and even greater advancements are on the horizon. Thanks to neuromorphic networks and quantum computing, our capacity to analyze and process information has been expanded. This has led to the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), which has revolutionized the way we interact with technology.

With technologies like voice and image recognition and deep learning algorithms, AI has become an incredibly powerful tool. The emergence of web 3.0 has further accelerated this revolution with the widespread adoption of blockchain, virtual and augmented realities and tokenization. Telecommunications networks are being replaced by fiber and 5G networks, transforming every corner of the world into supercomputers.

The confluence of unlimited data processing and storage capacity, terrestrial supercomputers, and web 3.0 has paved the way for the massive irruption of artificial general intelligence (AGI): a computational system that can generate new scientific knowledge and perform any human tasks. AGI has also been defined alternatively as an autonomous system that surpasses human capabilities at most of the economically valuable work. While it is impossible to predict when AGI will arrive, we are getting closer.


The exponential learning speed of current AI model has increased by a factor of 100 million in the last ten years, and AGIs are being fed with all the data available on the internet. This has the potential to create unimaginable breakthroughs in scientific discovery, from creating crops resistant to climate change to developing new medicines.

As José Maria Alvarez-Pallete, CEO and President of Telefonica SA, pointed out, the potential dangers of AGI must also be considered. A runaway or power-hungry AGI could create chemical or cybernetic weapons, massive job displacements as machines take over tasks previously performed by humans, and its potential application in the creation of fake news or deep fake poses a threat to democracy through systematic and undetectable disinformation. Hence, it is crucial to apply ethical considerations to the AGI’s development and usage.

Multilateral Development Bank (MDBs) can prioritize ethical considerations such as privacy, security, and human rights in funding research and development of AGI. To ensure ethical incorporation, companies or organizations funded by MDBs can be required to demonstrate how they are implementing ethical considerations in their AGI development and usage.

MDBs can also provide technical assistance and capacity building to help countries develop regulatory frameworks and standards for AGI development and usage. This can include establishing guidelines for data privacy and security, accountability mechanisms for AGI decisions, and promoting transparency and public participation in AGI governance.

Some work is being done already in this direction, for example through the initiative fAIrLAC, already including the IDB Group’s IDB Lab. Overall, by prioritizing ethical considerations, promoting sustainable development, providing technical assistance, and coordinating responses to potential risks, MDBs can help ensure that AGI is developed and used in a way that benefits everyone and minimizes potential harms.


Edgar L. Cabañas

Edgar is an experienced professional in the field of structuring corporate finance, credit guarantees, supply chain finance, equity investments and


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