Europe and the United States must come together to lead a global campaign to regulate “very powerful AI,” European legislators have stated.
As artificial intelligence (AI) takes center stage in the global tech industry, innovators, startup founders, business and tech leaders, and regulators have called for comprehensive regulations. In the past week, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai have warned that if unchecked, AI could destroy civilization.
European lawmakers have joined the call to regulate AI. A dozen legislators wrote an open letter claiming AI’s rise is “faster and more unpredictable than policymakers around the world have anticipated.”
AI is moving very fast and we need to move too. The call from the Future of Life Institute @FLIxrisk to pause the development of very powerful AI for half a year, although unnecessarily alarmist, is another signal we need to focus serious political attention on this issue. pic.twitter.com/Tjrj9k02Yj
— Dragoș Tudorache (@IoanDragosT) April 17, 2023
The legislators’ letter was inspired by a similar effort by the Future of Life Institute (FLI) which wrote a similar letter warning about unregulated AI development. FLI’s letter collected over 1,000 signatures from leaders in the AI space, led by Musk and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak. It called for a six-month pause on the development of systems more powerful than Open AI’s GPT-4.
EU legislators are in support of FLI’s stand, even though they believe some of its claims were alarmist (FLI President Max Tegmark wasn’t amused).
“We are nevertheless in agreement with the letter’s core message: with the rapid evolution of powerful AI, we see the need for significant political attention,” the letter stated.
The lawmakers called on U.S. President Joe Biden and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to convene a global summit on AI. Attendees can use the forum to “agree on a preliminary set of governing principles for the development, control, and deployment of very powerful artificial intelligence.”
Regulators can’t keep up with AI
The EU Parliament is currently working on the Artificial Intelligence Act, which was first proposed in 2021. However, while it’s just two years in the making, it’s already been overtaken by recent rapid developments in the sector.
The Act focused on banning unethical AI use for manipulation, social scoring, and other related use cases. However, ChatGPT and other large language model AI have no specific use, and their application depends on the user.
EU Parliament has been rushing to bring these AI models under the Act. One of the proposals is to designate “high-risk” status to AI systems that can generate text without human oversight.
While such proposals have yet to make their way to the House floor, Big Tech is already opposing them. Natasha Crampton, the Chief Responsible AI Officer at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), says EU lawmakers should keep their focus on the high-risk use cases. ChatGPT and its peers are being used for productive use cases and should be allowed to grow before being cracked down on, she alluded.
“We want to make sure that high-value, low-risk use cases continue to be available for Europeans,” she stated.
Microsoft is the biggest investor in ChatGPT and has reportedly injected over $10 billion into the startup for exclusive access to its GPT-4 language model to power its search engine, Bing.
Despite the varying views from stakeholders in the AI industry, the EU Parliament is going to regulate the sector, Dragoș Tudorache says. The Romanian politician is a member of the EU Parliament and the chair of its Special Committee on AI.
“As lawmakers, we undertake to provide a first set of rules on General Purpose AI and, in particular, powerful foundation models, in order to steer the development of this technology in a direction that is human-centric, safe, and trustworthy,” he stated.
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