REGULATING AI TECHNOLOGY IN THE US

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TRUST ISSUES

Throughout the last year there have been multiple controversies surrounding AI technology. Most of them regarding ethical issues or bias in machine learning algorithms. It is no surprise then, that poll after poll in the US shows most Americans being skeptical of the potential benefits of the technology. Most of them seem to agree, that there must be common sense regulations imposed on large tech companies but they don’t trust any individual or any entity to do this.

There are many bright sides to the roll out of Artificial Intelligence technologies. However, this does not overshadow the issues that arise by applying it carelessly with no concern for privacy or the well being of the average person. Policymakers have to engage in a discussion, that they seem to have been putting off for some time. The discussion in question is precisely how to regulate this new technology and ensure it aligns with human values.

For the time being and for the past few years the opinions of the public have been largely ignored and this will have to change in order for there to be any meaningful progress. Problems like these are also, in large part, why the US has fallen behind China in the AI arms race.

AMERICANS HAVE MIXED OPINIONS

This data comes from a recent report by the Center for Governance of AI. As seen by the poll results more people tend to favor development of artificial intelligence but the result is not overwhelming and the opinions are very mixed. Whether this is caused by legitimate concerns regarding the future impact of the technology or caused by media hype and misleading journalism is anybody’s guess.

When asked to rank their specific concerns, data privacy and protection against ever growing cyber attacks ranked number 1. At the same time though, later polls also show that the typical American trusts tech companies more than the government. There isn’t anything glaringly wrong with this at first glance, but because of how tech companies are misusing the data of their customers, there will have to be some government oversight to keep things under control. This only complicates things further and explains in part the mixed results of these polls. Because AI is in its infancy, people just don’t know, who to trust and who not to trust, which brings us to our next data point.

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For a full analysis of the data visit the Center for the Governance of AI.

OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BELIEVE AI TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE MORE CAREFULLY MANAGED

This is the one poll, the results of which are not all that mixed and not all that surprising. Most people see how dangerous this technology can be and thus want it to be carefully managed. The main problem, as stated before, stems from trust to do this properly. Out of the many institutions and entities presented in poll about trust none of the options, which range from the US military to nonprofit companies and large corporations, received more than 50% support.

However, tech companies and nonprofits did receive the largest support, when it came to overseeing the safe roll out of AI, while University researchers received the most support, when it came to actually building Artificial Intelligence technologies with the military surprisingly not far behind.

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LEARNING FROM THE PAST

There is a lot that the governing bodies in the US can learn from the recent overtaking of China in AI development and from the results of these latest polls. They provide some useful insight into the opinions of the public regarding some very important topics. It would certainly be to their benefit to learn from the mistakes of the past and to avoid kicking the can down the road. Like it or not AI is coming and it is coming fast.

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