Given the unprecedented rise of ChatGPT, GPT-4 and the like, this topic cannot be ignored in a section entitled “Hot Topics”. Digital platforms like Google, Microsoft, Apple and their Chinese equivalents have also jumped on the AI bandwagon, adding it to their products like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 Copilot, etc. As in the chip sector,1 the “elephant in the room” is the global struggle for tech-military supremacy. This is an essential aspect that should not be ignored.
More than 1,000 prominent AI figures, including Elon Musk, are calling for a moratorium on AI development in an open letter; some of the signatories abruptly withdrew their support because they feel misunderstood. Shortly thereafter, Musk announced his own AI products. Data protection authorities and concerned experts call for ChatGPT to be scrutinized or even blocked due to privacy issues, etc. One rightly wonders, who is supposed to understand these things anymore?
I think these are – to a large extent – panic reactions (or PR-moves?), driven by fear of loss of control. Panic has never been a good advisor. It should not be forgotten that technology bans have never worked sustainably, as can be easily seen in the example of the ban on nuclear technology proliferation.
It seems to me much more appropriate to build a principle-driven AI regulations catalog, where transparency and participation by civil society in the creation and enforcement of a regulatory framework are paramount. This is the only way to evolve trust in the use of AI tools.
“It can’t be emphasized enough that this is a new field. The landscape of risks and opportunities is likely to change rapidly in coming weeks, months, and years. New use cases are being tested monthly, and new models are likely to be developed in the coming years.
As generative AI becomes increasingly, and seamlessly, incorporated into business, society, and our personal lives, we can also expect a new regulatory climate to take shape. As organizations begin experimenting—and creating value—with these tools, leaders will do well to keep a finger on the pulse of regulation and risk.”
(Source: website McKinsey, 19 January 2023)
1 Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, Chris Miller, https://www.christophermiller.net/semiconductors-1