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Reining in AI means figuring out which regulation options are feasible, both technically and economically

By Saurabh Bagchi
Image: AP file

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These worries are driven by unease about the possible spread of disinformation at a scale never seen before, and fears of loss of employment, loss of control over creative works and, more futuristically, AI becoming so powerful that it causes extinction of the human species.

The oligarchs do not care about employment loss except the threat of calls for income redistribution from the laid off and aggrieved. They do not care over independent creatives losing control of their IP which is happening already.

They do care about AI empowering those outside the oligarchy and upsetting their "natural" order.


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It's an interesting and challenging paradox, isn't it? Now they rely and swear on AI but also fear (generative) AI and want to massively reign in. Nothing to fear here, because with any reigning in which in fact represents the real problem here, these problems quickly solve themselves as that whole technology becomes obsolete when reigning in.

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Stephen Hawking, a physicist who was also the man who predicted blackholes long before they were discovered, once made a list of the 10 threats to the further existence of humanity. #1 was the nuclear threat, #2 was artificial intelligence. With all the turmoil in the world, nukes might do it. If not AI is likely to. It is being developed without restrictions and without developers thinking that it should have a stop point. With further development AI could be programmed to fix itself. Once it reaches that point it will either be kind to us or, what is probable, not care beans about us. It's a danger that exists. While that isn't true right now it has every potential of coming to that point. My only thought is, "Has the genii already left the bottle?"

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Regulation: A Cat Chasing Its Tail?

Throw all the rules you want at AI-generated content – the black market and clever workarounds will always be a click away. But the real puzzle lies deeper: how do you even regulate what you can't recognize?

Soon, AI-crafted art, essays, even news and videos, will be indistinguishable from the human-made originals. Is that a revolution or a Pandora's box? It depends on your view of atomic energy – a brilliant spark or a ticking time bomb.

Knowing our penchant for mischief, the future AI landscape might not be pretty. Buckle up, friends, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

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There is nothing wrong with requiring attribution of sources and admitting use (pity that doesn't extend to labelling GM products in our food).

But Western government rules will only suppress legit/local use. So every time they crack down on it, legit use and the economic benefits will be curtailed locally, but everyone else will carry on regardless.

This is why the 21st century will belong to the global south, dominated by the Indian version of GAFA. The West and China are cracking down on tech in their own borders, erasing the economic benefits and pandering to activists and moral panic.

The global south is benefit-focused and wants to surf their own lucrative internet revolution with less regard to physical borders. Indian tech guys understand this. They have experience of it. They share the hopes, difficulties and aspirations of half a planet of users. They will roll out tech that costs less per use, but is used by many more, with less regulation.

GAFA executives, millionaires all, don't share the life experiences of their users in the West, never mind the rest of the world. And their governments will hamper everything they produce from now on.

The actual tech doesn't matter. It will be lucrative and happen in the GS, where people will accept it and cope with it. It will be limited, demonised, controlled by the state and no longer boost the economy in the West, where activists and politicians fear it, seeing endless 'harms' in everything new. The GS will now progress economically, empowered by the next big things in tech. The West's economy will decline as it hides from new technologies and regulates them to bits.

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