Generative AI technology is the new hot ticket in tech. Web-based AI tools allow everyday people to generate visual art and text documents in mere minutes. Several AI platforms have already become household names but the early leader in the battle for market share and public recognition is ChatGPT. The Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer was developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022. It’s ability to intelligently and accurately produce text at the click of a button has already disrupted industries the world over. Professionals from grade school educators to corporate big data analysts have had to adapt to the new normal brought on by ChatGPT and its fellow AI tools. Even the governments of the world are getting involved; as the question of how we should approach regulating AI becomes more and more of a public debate. Today we’d like to examine the debate around AI regulation.
We would be remiss to begin this discussion in earnest without first acknowledging that Malloy Law Offices is a part of the AI revolution in our own small way. We’ve adopted ChatGPT in recent months to help us communicate, brainstorm, and create more efficiently. Generative AI can even play a role in a business as human as the practice of personal injury law! And it’s this precise ubiquitous quality that makes regulation of AI such a pertinent issue. It’s become so widespread in such a short span of time and will only become more so. So where should the lines be?
The European Union has recently put forth the first broad attempt at legislation meant to place guardrails on the development and application of AI technology. While only a proposal for now; the “AI Act” would establish a broad set of controls and transparency requirements over AI projects. Especially regarding projects deemed to represent some public safety or health hazard. Indeed, the AI act would ban certain AI functions outright for posing an “unacceptable” level of risk. These include:
While critics may regard the AI Act as overly broad, it’s fairly encouraging for a first draft. Companies who fail to meet the requirements stipulated by the EU may face significant annual fines and be barred from operation in the EU.
As legal professionals accustomed to protecting private citizens from the negligence of much larger entities, we believe that the law is a vital tool in protecting people from the consequences of technological development. But there is no doubt a large constituency that would like to see AI regulation kept to a minimum. These AI boosters fear overregulation by fearful and under-informed government bodies. They fear that the rapid development of this technology, and the opportunities it brings, may slow to a trickle if subjected to harsh and inflexible regulation. Even more so; they fear that states who pursue broad regulation of AI may find themselves left behind in further economic and technological development.
Though the skeptic side also has compelling arguments. The first is on the basis of ethical concerns. Many fear that companies will not protect the privacy and data of AI platform users unless compelled by law. Activists also fear that the complex algorithms and processes that make AI work could be subverted by bias and discrimination inserted by corporate concerns. There are also public health and safety concerns. We are already seeing the potential for AI create or aid in the creation of highly convincing misinformation. Faked videos, images, and articles are all well within the capabilities of modern AI.
Fears of robot overlords may resonate with beloved pop-culture properties, but AI watchdogs tell us that the privacy and misinformation concerns are much more immediate and real. Furthermore, people fear the consequences of AI further automating the economy, and the economic disruption it may cause. Strong regulation cannot stop the progress of science and technology, but it can keep innocent everyday people from being trampled by its marching boots.
While we are AI users, we here at Malloy Law are by no means experts in the field. However, we find the oncoming debate in all forums on the proper use and regulation of this tech fascinating. Early seems seem to indicate that it’s a debate that will shape the coming years. We hope this brief overview has given you something to think about in shaping your own opinion on Ai regulation. We invite you to explore our blog for further analysis of legal concerns and debates taking place in our world.