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Point: Should AI Technology Be Regulated?: Yes, and Here's How

By Oren Etzioni

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 61 No. 12, Pages 30-32

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Government regulation is necessary to prevent harm. But regulation is also a blunt and slow-moving instrument that is easily subject to political interference and distortion. When applied to fast-moving fields like AI, misplaced regulations have the potential to stifle innovation and derail the enormous potential benefits that AI can bring in vehicle safety, improved productivity, and much more. We certainly do not want rules hastily cobbled as a knee-jerk response to a popular outcry against AI stoked by alarmists such as Elon Musk (who has urged U.S. governors to regulate AI "before it's too late").

To address this conundrum, I propose a middle way: that we avoid regulating AI research, but move to regulate AI applications in arenas such as transportation, medicine, politics, and entertainment. This approach not only balances the benefits of research with the potential harms of AI systems, it is also more practical. It hits the happy medium between not enough and too much regulation.


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