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Gov’ts debate AI rules but the results don’t command

Gov’ts debate AI rules but the results don’t command

Leaders of Australia, Ireland, Israel, the United States and the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers are seeking input on AI regulations, according to a handy guide published by Reuters. The European Union, United Kingdom and United Nations are planning regulations while China has implemented temporary regulations.

And Italy, Japan, Spain and France are investigating possible data and privacy breaches involving AI.

AI measures an ‘urgent issue,’ says US policy advisor

The White House is considering many measures connected to regulating AI, but their timeline is uncertain, according to an Associated Press interview with Washington technology advisor Arati Prabhakar this week.

“The president has been clear that this is an urgent issue,” he reportedly told the AP. Prabhakar directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

His office is helping to shape the government’s approach to AI, relying on cooperation with industry leaders. In July, seven companies, including Meta, Google, Microsoft and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI agreed to meet voluntary AI safety standards set by the White House.

One of the issues being examined is the black-box development of most machine-learning code, said Prabhakar. But there are enough other AI concerns that some people worry that algorithms could become a djinn sprung loose from the bottle, with unexpected and possibly dangerous consequences.

For example, he said, “there’s now a fairly substantial, distressing history of facial recognition systems being used inappropriately and leading to wrongful arrests of Black people.”

Australian rights commission: We need our own AI Act

Commissioners are warning that the country urgently needs an AI Act similar to the one being meted out in the E.U.

They also are asking for a dedicated AI safety commissioner who would not have an enforcement role but who instead would assist regulators on the topic, InnovationAus.com reports.

“If Australia is to reap the benefits of AI, it must ensure the technology is developed and used ethically,” says Rights Commissioner Lorraine Finlay.

The organization says it has submitted 47 recommendations to the Industry Department, noting that many issues complicating the use of AI could be resolved with improvements to legal frameworks including privacy laws.

In 2021, the commission published a report with similar recommendations. The organization had called on the government to halt use of facial recognition and other AI algorithms for important decisions until protections are in place. Its findings were largely ignored by the previous government, the report notes.

Australia is seeking input on regulations but that call has divided stakeholders. Some in industry want technology-neutral regulations while others are advocating more government intervention, according to the report.

Women AI ethics researchers are leading the call for regulation

As the debates on AI have grown during the past year, many creators of these algorithms have issued alarms about AI’s effects on society .

Yet female AI-ethics researchers have been warning for years about the societal effects of AI systems and their problematic interactions with people of color and other marginalized communities.

In an interview with culture and news publisher Rolling Stone, AI thought leaders such as Timnit Gebru, Safiya Noble, Rumman Chowdhury, Seeta Peña Gangadharan and Joy Buolamwini discussed how their findings on AI bias and other problems have often been dismissed.

Buolamwini’s Algorithmic Justice League has been looking into reported harms caused by the Transportation Security Administration’s expanded use of face biometrics to 25 airports across the U.S. The computer scientist and digital activist with the MIT Media Lab was invited this summer to speak to President Joe Biden at a closed-door roundtable on AI.

Ethically training AI is crucial, she says, while treating the algorithms like ordinary code could pose dire consequences.

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