Please select your state
so that we can show you the most relevant content.
Quick note for our AFP civil liberties newsletter readers: I’m excited to share that I’m currently on vacation. I’m even more excited to share that I haven’t been replaced by Artificial Intelligence or ChatGPT; instead, I’m handing this week’s civil liberties newsletter over to AFP Senior Policy Analyst James Czerniawski, who specializes in technology and innovation. I’ll be back in your inbox on August 17!
– Casey Mattox
As we bask in the warmth of August, I am thrilled to step in for Casey, who is currently enjoying a well-deserved beach break. So, let’s grab a tropical drink, kick back, and dive into the cool waters of Artificial Intelligence!
Just like the waves shaping the shoreline, AI has been making ripples across the world, transforming industries and surfacing in unexpected ways. It’s a technological adventure that has captured our imagination and has everyone talking.
The most exciting aspect is the interaction between users and this technology. Whether it is ChatGPT and Google Bard or Midjourney and DALLE, these programs are just scratching the surface of a future of how AI can help consumers.
Artificial intelligence is being trained on medical data to help hospitals diagnose cancer sooner. It is also being used to help with the development of new drugs. Doctors are even using it to analyze patient data to predict how a patient might respond to a particular treatment, empowering doctors to have more tailored treatment plans for patients that mitigate against negative side effects.
Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, has a bold vision for AI. In his Ted Talk, Khan outlined how he believes that AI can play a role in transforming education. His company is working to develop AI that can be a super tutor. Imagine having a tutor that understands how you learn best or helps an individual get to the right answer instead of simply telling them whether they are right or wrong. This could be an amazing tool to help combat the seriousness of learning loss that occurred to children as a result of pandemic policies that significantly altered their learning environment.
The most notable use of AI is in autonomous vehicles, where AI works with computer vision to analyze the environment and adjust accordingly. As this technology develops, we can expect to see even safer cars on the road. The benefits also extend to the commercial side, where AI can help companies improve their supply chains and better execute deliveries.
But the most exciting aspect is the interaction between users and this technology. Whether it is ChatGPT and Google Bard or Midjourney and DALLE, these programs are just scratching the surface of a future of how AI can help consumers.
Companies are experimenting with ways to integrate AI to support travel planning and itinerary development, help families navigate food allergies, and more. For creatives, it can serve as a good sounding board for tinkering with ideas. Personally, I have found that using these tools has been a massive help in improving the framing of questions I have to get better results. As consumers learn to interact with this technology, the technology will continue to evolve and meet existing and new needs that might crop up.
It is not all sunshine and roses, though.
With extraordinarily powerful technology like AI, there are also risks. Notably, when discussing the risks around AI, they tend to fall on a scale.
On one end, there is a serious conversation to be had about the impact of AI on the U.S. labor market. Additionally, you have concerns about deep fakes, privacy and more. An extreme outlier, you have people donning their best doomsday prediction hats, likening AI to pandemics and nuclear war.
I’d recommend you read Marc Andreesen’s piece “AI Will Save the World,” over at Bari Weiss’ The Free Press. Marc does an excellent job of highlighting some of those major concerns and offers his perspective.
It is important to have that conversation, but unfortunately Congress and the president haven’t been constructive in their approach. Their framing of this technology is rooted in their animus towards social media. They believe that they failed to take action then, and AI represents an opportunity to right that wrong now that they have a second chance with this new tech.
AI and social media are fundamentally different technologies. Treating them as similar is essentially projecting the distinct issues of social media, such as misinformation, claims around mental health and government pressure, onto AI. This would ultimately divert attention away from the real challenges we should address.
Additionally, some individuals misrepresent the state of play of AI, suggesting that it operates in the wild west. But that is simply not true. And many existing U.S. regulators agree. The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a joint statement stating they would enforce existing laws.
We do not need to rewrite the book every time new technology comes around. This is an educational issue, where regulators need to understand what the tech does, and more importantly, what it does not do, to be empowered to enforce the law accordingly in a responsible fashion.
The conversation around regulating AI is one the United States must get right. We are in a race against the rest of the world to be the leaders in AI. Whoever wins that race gets to set the rules and lead the conversation.
Realistically, there are two players in this race: China and the U.S.
The EU’s approach to AI lends itself to undermining the development of the tech commercially in that space for some time, coupled with other onerous regulations on tech. China’s vision for AI is quite clear, and it represents a true threat to free speech online. They want the technology to support the vision and values of the CCP, and they want to leverage that technology to tighten their grip on the dissemination of information they don’t like, more than they already do.
The U.S. is leading in this race so far, in part because of our historical dominance in technology over the last several decades and because we deploy advanced semiconductors to support extraordinarily powerful AI programs. But, as I said in Real Clear Markets, that position is not guaranteed, and it should NOT be taken for granted. If we pass onerous rules similar to what the EU has done, or create a licensing regime to regulate the deployment of the technology, we will be attempting to lead in this race with our legs tied together.
America has an opportunity to lean into what made it such a historic leader in tech. We can embrace a light touch approach similar to what was used during the web 2.0 era. That decision paid off massively, resulting in attracting lots of business activity to the United States, billions of dollars in economic activity, and tens of thousands of high paying jobs.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure exploring the captivating world of AI and its endless potential in our lives, industry and society more broadly. As the sun sets on this AI-filled month, I’d encourage you to research how the transformative power of AI could improve your life.
As Bilbo Baggins famously said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” I promise this is one adventure that offers endless promise and a lot of reasons for hope (no dragons though, I think).
Receive email alerts to learn how to get involved