President of global affairs at Meta Nick Clegg has urged against ‘fragmented’ laws surrounding AI.
He instead advocates for greater freedom at a time in which many are calling for more regulation.
Figures from Yuval Noah Harari, to Elon Musk to Mo Gawdat have all come out and warned against the technology.
But Clegg challenges this and insists that ‘creators who lean in to using this technology, rather than trying to block it or slow it down… will in the long run be better placed’
Using an analogy from Aladdin, Clegg has remarked that ‘I can’t see how you put the genie back in the bottle’.
But is genie the right analogy for this new technology?
In late 2022, there was an explosion of hype around Open AI’s ChatGBT, a large language model that greatly altered the internet.
From composing essays, to having philosophical conversations to even coding for you, the technology took automation to the next level.
According to analysis by Swiss bank UBS, ChatGBT was the fastest growing app of all time.
And yet, it wasn’t long before people began warning against it.
In an open letter to pause ai, written by the Future of Life institute, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk and 28’000 people asked to pause the technology.
Experts expressed fears about how quickly it was moving, citing it’s ability to self-improve as a matter of great concern.
Come 2023, the Biden administration is urging for greater safety and security.
Pros and Cons of AI
All of this has led to a divide between those for and against regulation.
Already the European union has passed several regulations related to AI, including the
Artificial Intelligence Act which is still under development.
But for the heads of companies like Meta ,AI has the potential to do more good than harm.
Unlike humans it doesn’t fatigue, endure emotional problems or suffer anything else that may affect it’s productivity. It can work round the clock and analyse large sets of data faster than any human can.
And yet the ethical concerns associated with it threaten to disrupt the entire world. Whilst it’s collection of data is unprecedented, recent history has shown how such action can be used against us.
Whilst the technology may create new jobs it may benefit the wealthy more so than the poor. According to the BBC, for hourly and shift based workers, AI has the potential to limit their earning potential. Journals such as Bruegel have gone even further by arguing that AI will greatly impact low and middle-skilled jobs.
All of this is coming at the back of a White House summit on Friday where the Biden administration urged for the enhanced safety and security.
Whilst Biden insists that the commitments are real, the representatives of Anthropic, Meta, Google, Inflection and OpenAI were hardly pushed on plans and survived the meeting with vague commitments about their responsibility.
“AI should benefit the whole of society. For that to happen, these powerful new technologies need to be built and deployed responsibly,”
Clegg isn’t against regulation per se. But his views are laisses faire and, I hope he’d forgive me for calling him idealistic. Let’s not forget that Clegg was deputy prime minister during the end of the neo liberal era between 2010 and 2016. He was made an era that advocated individual prosperity and innovation above all else.
And yet, recent years have seen a move away from this Fukuyamist dream. Nationalization has re-emerged. Countries have been criticised for neglecting the needs of their citizens and Clegg’s motives may better serve the owners of Facebook than it may the majority of people.
In saying that, Clegg remains adamant about his responsibilities to the world: “We’re already seeing the positive impact of AI for many people, and we believe it should benefit everyone, not just a few companies.”
Back in 2010, Clegg made the decision to make a u turn on tuition fees. As a result, Britain’s student population was forced to pay three times more than those who had studied before them. Let’s hope the world now avoids a similar fate.