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Artificial Intelligence and its Forthcoming Regulations

May 17th, 2023

The European Parliament is moving closer to establishing the first rules on artificial intelligence (AI) with the AI Act. The draft was voted on Thursday, May 11th, 2023, and should be in use by 2024. The temporary Italian ban on Chat GPT demonstrates the uneasiness felt by the rapid growth of AI. Not everyone will react the same way to the arrival of new technology. The diverging perceptions towards a new kind of technology and the extent to which it can influence lives may require a new set of regulations. For instance, cars were invented and became more widely used: the creation of traffic regulations followed. This article will first define Chat GPT, outline some of its problems, and explain the European Union AI Act.

Chat GPT was created by the company Open AI, founded by Sam Altman. Chatbots are internet chat engines. These tools have existed in the past, the first coined with the name Eliza and invented in 1994. However, Chat GPT has led to the active rethinking of various professions as this chatbot has surpassed what chatbots have done in the past. It is wired to collect a wide range of information stored in knowledge databases. Then, it feeds answers to questions people ask to the chatbot. This chat engine can be understood as a more advanced feature of the autocomplete functions on phones when, while texting, suggested words appear in the section of the screen above the keyboard. The artificial intelligence or autocomplete function allowing this chatbot to work is not perfect; the bot still struggles to respond to ‘real-situation’ problems. However, Chat GPT can complete a wide range of tasks: writing songs, resumes, essays, and programming. Furthermore, with its latest update, Chat GPT 4 can now complete a law school exam and score in the top 10%–when its previous version used to score in the bottom 10%–. Chat GPT still presents weaknesses, university professors claim excellent papers remain those not generated by AI.

As a result, artificial intelligence is already facilitating the work of many, 1.8 billion monthly visits in April 2023, and will surely strip away jobs soon. The growth and perfecting of AI will most likely stimulate a new phase of creative destruction. The term coined by Schumpeter in 1942 speaks of the situation where technological change will lead to the destruction of a set of jobs but create new jobs in the process. This shift in the economy’s dynamics is making people question how they will contribute to the workforce in the years to come. Students pursuing computer science degrees are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of specialization in machine learning, AI, or databases because bots can increasingly program with greater accuracy.

However, the urgent issue the EU Parliament desires to tackle is chatbots’ poorly regulated use of individuals' personal information and diffusion of misinformation. The use of people’s personal information could pose risks to the safety of individuals. AI can create a social scoring system where people are categorized based on their socioeconomic status or personal characteristics such as race and gender. The Members of the European Parliament have created a list to include bans on intrusive and discriminatory uses of AI. For instance, demanding the prohibition of biometric identification systems in public spaces, emotion recognition systems, and “the scraping of biometric information from social media or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases”.

In addition, the AI Act demands transparency measures to prevent the illegal use of copyright data. Indicating whether an image or text is AI-generated will become a requirement as chatbots are not disposed of fact-checking properties. Chat GPT cannot differentiate an academic paper and a fictional short story. Just like chatbots, image bots digitalize the ideas of images individuals might have. By rearranging the pixels of images on the internet, image bots–such as Midjourney or DALLE.E–can construct the desired images. Through texts or images, AI-fueled tools may contribute to the internet becoming a less vibrant place. For instance, individuals may fear that posting their work online may be used by a chatbot or that chatbot-generated content will be preferred. Spotify is already, plagued by AI-generated content to the detriment of emerging artists. The distinction between human and AI information would help limit these issues.

John Hewshow, senior director of search engine optimization at Vimeo, states that “society has the most to lose with conversational AI”. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this statement does not prevent AI from evolving as we speak. Some may see this technology as a neutralizer of critical thought. However, rather than a Manichean view on AI, being aware of its limitations and advantages can help mitigate its risks and perhaps help people with new solutions to its prevailing ethical and moral dilemma. “One way to ensure that A.I. is used as a force for creation—rather than destruction—is through education.” Just like calculators authorized for some exams and restricted for others, AI is a tool rather than a creature. How and why people will use this tool needs to be studied meticulously and regulated.

Edited by: Youssef Eljarray


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