As AI Rises, Lawmakers Try to Catch Up

As AI Rises, Lawmakers Try to Catch Up

From “smart” vacuum cleaners to driverless cars to advanced disease diagnosis techniques, artificial intelligence has found its way into every area of ​​modern life.

Its proponents believe it is revolutionizing the human experience, but critics point out that the technology risks handing over to machines the responsibility for life-changing decisions.

Regulators in Europe and North America are worried.

The European Union is likely to pass legislation next year – the AI ​​Act – aimed at curbing the age of the algorithm.

The United States recently released a draft AI bill of rights, and Canada is also considering legislation.

China’s use of biometrics, facial recognition and other technologies to build a powerful control system looms large in the debates.

Gry Hasselbalch, a Danish academic who advises the EU on the controversial technology, argued that the West also risks creating “totalitarian infrastructure”.

“I see this as a huge threat, regardless of the benefits,” she told AFP.

But before regulators can act, they face the daunting task of defining what AI really is.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian of Brown University, co-author of the AI ​​Bill of Rights, said trying to define AI was “a cup game”.

Any technology that affects people’s rights should be covered by the bill, he tweeted.

The 27-nation EU is taking the most torturous route in an attempt to define the sprawling field.

His bill lists the types of approaches defined as AI and includes virtually all computer systems involving automation.

The problem stems from the evolution of the use of the term AI.

For decades he has described attempts to create machines that simulate human thought.

But funding for this research – known as symbolic AI – largely dried up in the early 2000s.

The rise of the Silicon Valley titans saw AI reborn as a catch-all label for their numerical computing programs and the algorithms they generated.

This automation allowed them to target users with advertising and content, helping them earn hundreds of billions of dollars.

“AI was a way for them to use that surveillance data more and mystify what was going on,” Meredith Whittaker, a former Google employee who co-founded the AI ​​Now Institute in the city, told AFP. New York University.

Thus, both the EU and the US have concluded that any definition of AI must be as broad as possible.

But from that point on, the two Western powers went wide apart.

The EU AI bill is over 100 pages long.

Among its most eye-catching proposals is a complete ban on certain “high-risk” technologies – the type of biometric surveillance tools used in China.

It also severely limits the use of AI tools by migration officers, police and judges.

Hasselbach said some technologies were “simply too difficult for fundamental rights”.

The AI ​​Bill of Rights, on the other hand, is a brief set of principles framed in ambitious language, with exhortations such as “you should be protected from unsafe or inefficient systems.”

The bill was released by the White House and builds on existing law.

Experts believe that no dedicated AI legislation is likely in the United States until 2024 at the earliest, as Congress is deadlocked.

Opinions differ on the merits of each approach.

“We desperately need regulation,” Gary Marcus of New York University told AFP.

He points out that “big language models” – the AI ​​behind chatbots, translation tools, predictive text software and more – can be used to generate harmful misinformation.

Whittaker questioned the value of laws aimed at combating AI rather than the “surveillance business models” that underpin it.

“If you don’t address this on a fundamental level, I think you’re putting a band-aid on a flesh wound,” she said.

But other experts have largely welcomed the US approach.

AI was a better target for regulators than the more abstract concept of privacy, said Sean McGregor, a researcher who chronicles technology failures for the AI ​​Incident Database.

But he said there could be a risk of over-regulation.

“Existing authorities can regulate AI,” he told AFP, citing figures like the US Federal Trade Commission and the HUD, a housing regulator.

But where experts largely agree is the need to suppress the hype and mysticism that surrounds AI technology.

“It’s not magic,” McGregor said, likening the AI ​​to a highly sophisticated Excel spreadsheet.

#Rises #Lawmakers #Catch

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