Faced with growing concerns around artificial intelligence, the United States has decided to take matters into its own hands by organizing a crucial meeting with industry leaders. The goal? To establish a framework to regulate the development of AI and minimize its potential risks.
A historic meeting to regulate artificial intelligence
Leaders of major AI companies are being urged to take action to contain the potential dangers associated with this burgeoning technology. In response, the White House and the Competition Authority recently issued warnings, urging these companies to ensure the safety of their products and cooperate to limit the harmful effects of AI.
On May 4, a meeting between the Biden administration and AI giants such as Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Anthropic and OpenAI was held. The objective of this unprecedented meeting is to discuss measures to be adopted to oversee the development of artificial intelligence, a subject of growing concern that requires the intervention of major players in the sector.
The invitation to the leaders of these companies addresses the risks associated with the current development of AI in the near term and the actions that should be taken to mitigate them. President Joe Biden wants the companies involved to ensure that their products are safe before they are made available to the public.
However, this can be complex, as AI models rely on extensive use to improve. Algorithms need to be used by a large number of people in order to learn, which is hardly compatible with making a stable and reliable tool available to the general public from the start.
Protecting jobs in the face of AI advances
The concern is not just from the government, the FTC, the U.S. consumer protection authority, has issued recommendations for companies developing generative AI. One crucial point is that companies should not lay off employees to integrate AI into their processes. Despite this, IBM has publicly announced the replacement of nearly 8,000 employees with AI. Proper guidance would turn these ethical issues into legal implications.
Ultimately, AI is an evolving field that requires regulation to minimize potential risks. The United States is taking a first step toward such regulation, and the European Union should probably follow.
AI giants fear overly restrictive regulation
Although aware of the risks, AI giants fear that innovation could be held back by overly stringent regulations. Michael Schwarz, chief economist at Microsoft, called on lawmakers not to rush things during a discussion at the World Economic Forum, according to Bloomberg. He advocated acting when “real damage” is done and ensuring that “the benefits of regulation outweigh the cost to society.”
Lina Khan, the president of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency, compared the current situation with the emergence of large digital platforms in the 2000s. In an op-ed published in the New York Times, she explained that their business model, based on the exploitation of users' data at the expense of their “security”, was “not inevitable”.
She says the authorities have a responsibility to ensure that history does not repeat itself. On the other side of the Atlantic, Europe is once again hoping to lead the way with a specific AI regulation, similar to what was done with the personal data law.
A senior White House official said, “This is not a race. We are working closely with our European counterparts. Thus, this historic meeting could be a decisive step towards an international framework for artificial intelligence and enhanced cooperation between the major players in the sector to minimize its risks.
The meeting between AI giants and U.S. authorities marks a crucial turning point in the search for an adequate framework for artificial intelligence. The stakes are high, with the need to protect jobs and user safety, while preserving innovation. International cooperation and exchange between the various players in the sector will be essential to reach a consensus and establish balanced and effective regulations. Only time will tell if these efforts will bear fruit and minimize the risks while harnessing the extraordinary potential of AI.