AI: A Controversy of the Modern Age

by Suhani Narayan

AI technology is scary to people. Some think that it will destroy the world, some think that they’ll take over, some people think that technology will run faster than us.However, I think otherwise. AI technology is made by humans, for humans. Why would we place regulations of something of our own creation?Advancing AI and being proactive about AI technology is bipartisan, and initiatives have already taken place for the regulation and advancement of AI. To this end, the bipartisan group including Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., introduced the Artificial Intelligence in Government Act on Wednesday.

Per a news release, the bill would seek to “improve the use of AI across the federal government by providing resources and directing federal agencies to include AI in data-related planning.” The bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Caucus for the 115th Congress launched in May 2017, originally co-chaired by Congressman John K. Delaney and Congressman Pete Olson. According to the press release from Delaney’s office at the time, “The goal of the caucus is to inform policymakers of the technological, economic and social impacts of advances in AI and to ensure that rapid innovation in AI and related fields benefits Americans as fully as possible.” In his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump stressed the importance of investing in the cutting-edge Industries of the Future. Emerging technologies are driving the creation of the Industries of the Future, and none more so than artificial intelligence (AI). AI technologies are transforming nearly every area of our lives, from transportation to healthcare to education to security. Even now at the earliest stages of commercializing these technologies, we have seen the power and potential of AI to support workers, diagnose diseases, and improve our national security.

The American AI Initiative is guided by five principles, which include (in summarized form), the following: “1. Driving technological breakthroughs, 2. Driving the development of appropriate technical standards, 3. Training workers with the skills to develop and apply AI technologies, 4. Protecting American values including civil liberties and privacy and fostering public trust and confidence in AI technologies, 5. Protecting US technological advantage in AI, while promoting an international environment that supports innovation.” Advancing AI was said in President Trump’s State of the Union address, and there were multiple events that showed that both parties agree in advancing AI. The American AI Initiative already addresses regulations in AI anyway.

The supposed ‘danger’ of AI (and that they will destroy humanity) is baseless as of now since AI emotions and motivations aren’t fully developed yet. According to Amitai Etzioni, a journalist in cybersecurity and innovative technology, she says, “machines equipped with AI, however smart they may become, have no goals or motivations of their own.” It is hard to see, for instance, why driverless cars would unite to march on Washington. And even if an AI program came up with the most persuasive political slogan ever created, why would this program nominate an AI-equipped computer as the nominee for the next president? AIs, as of now, are made for the purpose of making tasks easier and more efficient. Machines can analyze emotions but cannot display emotions or motivations themselves, since learning technology is for adapting to circumstances.

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