These are just some of the words that come to mind when we think about AI: innovation, futuristic and cutting edge technology. Another thought that may come to mind is regulation. Because AI is such new territory, there are a lot of questions regarding just how far we can push the envelope, ethics, privacy and security. With this being uncharted waters, there is no shortage of opinions on whether or not the government should act as a regulator in the realm of AI.
For Government Regulation
Many people that want the government to regulate AI, are more concerned with the ramifications of the implementation and application of this technology. AI developers want it to evolve and learn, to basically improve on itself on its own. This can be a very slippery slope and can result in some catastrophic end of the world type scenarios in the worst of cases. If there is any possibility of catastrophe at the hands of AI, the government needs to heavily regulate this industry for the safety of the world. Security measures need to be taken well before the security is needed. After problems arise, it may be too late to gain control of the situation in a way that is beneficial to the greater good. These are just some of the arguments of advocates who want to see the government regulate AI.
Against Government Regulation
Many dissenters will agree that AI is just as much research and development as is nanotechnology and quantum mechanics. Others point to medicine, which is heavily regulated by the government, and all of the red tape that makes innovation and advances slow, expensive and difficult. Of course, research can be used for both noble and evil gains, but since there is very little applied AI around us, it is hard to make decisions and laws regarding it. Those who are against the government’s involvement in AI are deeply concerned with bureaucracy and the hindrances that come with it. It’s just too early on to make regulatory decisions.
Somewhere in the Middle
This middle ground hosts a large population. Because a lot of AI is research and theory at this point, there’s not that much to regulate. People want to wait and see where this train is really headed. Until someone is able to prove that it needs regulation, it is presumed innocent until it is found guilty. Some look at AI much like the Internet and cyberspace and don’t want archaic and unnecessary regulations thrust on AI before it even gets going and we really know what is needed and what is not.
Regardless of which group you fall in, there is a lot more progress to be made with AI before there will be an official ruling on how and who will regulate AI. Just about every industry from food to cosmetics to education is regulated by the government as well as other private entities. Whatever happens with AI, its applications have the potential to be quite extensive. And no matter how you feel about its regulation, it’s a job that has to be done.