AI: Regulation can't put the genie back in the bottle

James Stevenson
AI eye

Ah, artificial intelligence (AI), the digital wizardry that's taken the world by storm! It's like that mischievous genie who popped out of Aladdin's lamp, only this time, there's no lamp, just lines of code and some rather chaotic decision-makers. The contradiction of whether AI will save the human race or will it kill us all. We'll dive headfirst into the rollercoaster ride of AI, where social responsibility rubs shoulders with commercial interests, and regulation faces off against the rebellious genie.

Commercial Greed vs. Social Responsibility: The OpenAI Fiasco

Picture this: A mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. Sounds noble, right? Well, that's precisely what OpenAI promised. But what happened next was nothing short of a soap opera.

The stage was set: The board, responsible for upholding this noble mission, had concerns about their CEO not being "consistently candid in his communications." Cue the dramatic exit of Sam Altman, the founder and CEO. But here's where it gets interesting - investors quickly swooped in to rehire Altman. It was a boardroom brawl of epic proportions, and the employees were far from thrilled. They even threatened a mass resignation.

Lesson one: Commercial interests sometimes elbow their way to the front of the line, leaving social responsibility trailing behind. This contradiction played out dramatically in the OpenAI fiasco, turning it into an outright conflict, fought out in public. Founders should also take note: once you accept external funding, your board can, indeed, have a responsibility to fire you if they think you are performing poorly unless, it seems, you are Sam Altman.

It is also worth noting that complex company structures don't always guarantee social responsibility. Sometimes, complexity is just that, giving the perceived comfort with little tangible benefits unless you are a lawyer.

Regulation: Can You Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?

Now, let's talk about regulation. The EU has taken the lead by passing landmark AI regulations. But can you really put the genie back in the bottle when AI is already running wild in the digital wilderness?

The EU's regulations are no small potatoes, threatening hefty financial penalties for violations, up to a whopping €35 million or 7% of a company's global turnover. It's like the AI version of a traffic cop handing out colossal speeding tickets. We know the EU doesn't shy away from levying fines, much like Ireland, which fined Meta €1.2 billion, and France, which slapped Amazon with a €746 million penalty for GDPR breaches.

But here's the catch - regulation can't rein in all the cowboys and cowgirls of the AI frontier. Good actors might play by the rules, but the bad actors and those pesky nation-states? We will all be in trouble if North Korea finally replaces its 1980-era IBM 386 PC. A more fundamental concern is the Kremlin linked Internet Research Agency, which is already effective in meddling in Western Society's elections.

The RoboCop of AI, Policing AI: Is It Just a Matter of Time?

We can all agree that AI should be safe, transparent, reliable, and accountable. But with the lightning speed at which AI processes data, we're left wondering when we'll see the RoboCop of AI policing AI. This may be the next big commercial opportunity.

Imagine AI algorithms patrolling the digital streets, ensuring that rogue AIs don't cause havoc. It's like having a superhero to keep the renegades in check. With AI's unparalleled ability to process vast amounts of data, it might just be the silver bullet we need.

In the Wild West of AI, it's a constant battle between social responsibility, commercial interests, and regulation. Maybe Sam Altman is the Wyatt Earp we need, or maybe he is Ike Clanton. Only time will tell.

But it is clear that we can't put the genie back in the bottle, and regulation can only do so much.

So, there you have it, folks! AI: Where responsibility is a poker game, regulation is a high-stakes showdown, and the rebellious genie refuses to be bottled up. Welcome to the digital frontier. It is going to be a wild Yeehaw!

Written by
James Stevenson
Bletchley Group
January 3, 2024
Written by
January 3, 2024