Artificial intelligence (AI) has been hailed as the most consequential technological change in our lifetime, with its impact seen across a plethora of fields. However, the rapid advancements in AI have raised questions about the appropriate ways to control and regulate this powerful technology. Microsoft President Brad Smith has urged governments to act swiftly and stay atop the ongoing developments in AI. Alongside, he also emphasizes the collaborative role of the private sector in shaping AI’s future.
In a recent panel discussion held in Washington D.C., Smith introduced Microsoft’s “5-point blueprint for governing AI.” He shared the company’s goal of bringing the public and private sector together to ensure AI serves all of society. One of the key measures proposed by Smith involves the government requiring companies working on advanced AI models to obtain licenses before testing.
This would mean companies must notify the government when they start testing their AI systems and share the results from ongoing operations. Furthermore, even when AI models are licensed for deployment, companies would still have to continually monitor their performance and report any unforeseen issues to the concerned authorities.
Smith’s approach acknowledges the fact that neither the government nor the private sector has all the answers in controlling AI. He admits that even companies like Microsoft, which owns ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and has spent around $13 billion on backing OpenAI and integrating ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, may not possess sufficient information or credibility to propose the best course of action.
However, Smith asserts that people, especially in Washington D.C., are currently seeking innovative ideas to regulate AI. His push for government intervention comes on the heels of an open letter signed by more than 1,100 industry insiders in March, urging authorities to “pause giant AI experiments.” The letter highlighted concerns about AI systems with human-competitive intelligence and the grave risks they could pose to society and humanity.
The experts called for an immediate halt in the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 for at least six months. As governments and the private sector grapple with the challenge of AI governance, striking a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring safety and ethical standards remains a vexing question. Only through a combined effort can we hope to harness AI’s full potential while mitigating its unintended consequences.