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The New Law on Artificial Intelligence: Safeguarding Society from Negative Consequences

Summary

President Biden is set to announce a comprehensive executive order on artificial intelligence next week, signaling the beginning of a larger effort to protect society from the impacts of AI on employment, surveillance, and democracy. However, several prominent tech leaders […]

The New Law on Artificial Intelligence: Safeguarding Society from Negative Consequences

President Biden is set to announce a comprehensive executive order on artificial intelligence next week, signaling the beginning of a larger effort to protect society from the impacts of AI on employment, surveillance, and democracy. However, several prominent tech leaders caution that much more needs to be done.

Meredith Whitaker, President of the Signal Foundation, expressed skepticism about the current state of affairs, stating, “I don’t know where optimism could come from, but this is quite a barren landscape. Incentives are not aligned with social benefits.”

Alexander Wang, CEO and Founder of Scale AI, highlighted the use of immature AI systems on the battlefield. With contracts from the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps University, and military truck manufacturer Oshkosh, Wang emphasized the need for mature AI technology over hype-driven alternatives. He warned that deploying underdeveloped AI systems could create significant risks for soldiers in combat.

While President Biden’s executive order is expected to ease immigration barriers for highly-skilled workers, it will also require advanced AI models to undergo assessments before being used by federal officials. Despite these anticipated measures, executives express concerns about the future of AI.

“We should be very worried,” stated Whitaker. “We are outgunned in terms of lobbying (by big tech companies) and in our ability to influence decision-makers in Congress.”

The launch of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools has accelerated progress in the field of artificial intelligence, but it has also heightened global concerns about the technology’s impact on society. Decision-makers are increasingly alarmed about its potential effects on democracy, especially during crucial election years.

Frances Hogan, creator of the “Beyond the Screen” application and former Facebook whistleblower, cautions against dismissing technology as a mere “plaything.” She emphasizes that the exponential growth of technology should not be taken lightly, stating, “I think that mindset is dangerous, just coming in and saying this is all hype cycle. They’re getting better at things like structured reasoning. We shouldn’t just dismiss it as not being dangerous.”

Senate Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has recently focused on Senate work regarding AI, organizing a series of private forums. He agrees with the concerns raised and asserts that regulatory efforts are insufficient. According to Schumer, legislation is the only real solution.

Arati Prabhakar, a science advisor to President Biden, echoed these sentiments, acknowledging the need for more comprehensive action. “Of course, most leaders are absolutely right… There’s no doubt that much more will be needed,” said Prabhakar, who leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She emphasizes that everyone must engage and fulfill their responsibilities, as the decisions made today about AI will shape the future for decades to come.

FAQ

Q: What is the upcoming executive order on artificial intelligence?
A: President Biden plans to release a comprehensive executive order on artificial intelligence next week.

Q: What concerns do tech leaders have about the executive order?
A: Tech leaders warn that the executive order is just the beginning and that more action is needed to protect society from the impacts of AI on employment, surveillance, and democracy.

Q: Why are AI systems used on the battlefield a cause for concern?
A: Tech executives are worried about the deployment of immature AI systems on the battlefield, as they could pose dramatic risks to soldiers.

Q: What is the potential impact of AI on democracy?
A: Decision-makers and leaders express concerns about the potential effects of AI on democracy, particularly during important election years.

Q: Why is legislation seen as the primary solution?
A: Regulatory efforts alone might not be sufficient. Leaders believe that legislation is essential to address the challenges posed by AI effectively.