Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith believes establishing a new federal agency to oversee the development of artificial intelligence is the “most sensible” course.
“In short, we must always ensure that AI remains under human control,” Smith said in a blog post Thursday that doubled down on the necessity for oversight. “This must be a first-order priority for technology companies and governments alike.”
Lawmakers are trying to get ahead of the development of ChatGPT and other generative-AI systems, which have humanlike abilities and threaten to displace millions of workers as well as foster the spread of disinformation and stereotypes. At the same time, AI leaders Microsoft Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. have vowed to create AI systems with safeguards, such as limiting the kinds of questions chatbots will answer.
Smith also used his time in Washington to warn of the dangers of deepfakes, which are realistic-looking but false content.
“We’re going have to address the issues around deepfakes. We’re going to have to address in particular what we worry about most — foreign cyber-influence operations, the kinds of activities that are already taking place by the Russian government, the Chinese, the Iranians,” Smith said.
“We need to take steps to protect against the alteration of legitimate content with an intent to deceive or defraud people through the use of AI,” he added.
Additionally, Smith called for licensing for the most critical forms of AI with “obligations to protect security — physical security, cybersecurity, national security.”
The importance of regulating AI has percolated from Silicon Valley to the Beltway and areas in between as consumers and businesses adopt the technology. Nearly half (44%) of business owners say they expect to hire fewer people in the future because of AI capabilities, according to data from the FreshBooks AI Report.
“AI is like when the internet happened. We are so busy arguing about how to regulate it,” attorney Ghen Laraya Long said at an AI conference in Hollywood last week. “We need to look at the existing frameworks.”
She added: “The EU is 10 years ahead of us. Canada is five years ahead of us. Italy has already regulated ChatGPT. The industry is practically begging Congress to regulate them.”