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Artificial Intelligence challenges lawmakers trying to regulate it

From smart vacuum cleaners to driverless cars, the artificial intelligence It has made its way into all areas of life and forces legislators to adapt in the face of its consequences, still unknown.

Its defenders believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the human experience, but its critics fear leaving fundamental decisions to machines.

The European Union (EU) wants to pass specific legislation next year, the United States published a bill on AI and Canada is also considering legislation.

In the West there is concern that AI is used as in China, with biometric data or facial recognition to build a population control system.

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Gry Hasselbach, a Danish academic who advises the EU on AI, said that Western countries are also in danger of creating “totalitarian infrastructures.”

I see it as a big threat, whatever the benefits.”, he told AFP.

But before regulators can act, they will first have to face the complex task of defining what AI really is.

Suresh Venkatasubramanian of Brown University, co-author of the US AI bill, believes that trying to define it is “a waste of time”.

Any technology that affects people’s rights should be within the scope of the bill, he said on Twitter.

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The 27 EU countries chose instead to try to define this expanding field and the bill includes virtually any computer system that involves automation.

The problem stems from the very definition of AI, which has been changing over time.

For decades, the term described attempts to create machines that simulate human thought. But in the 2000s, research on what is known as symbolic AI stopped.

The rise of the big Silicon Valley companies saw the term AI used as a general label for their processing programs and the algorithms they generate.

This automation allowed users to be targeted with advertising and personalized content and earned those companies hundreds of billions of dollars.

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AI was a way to make more use of this surveillance data and to make what was happening incomprehensible.”Meredith Whittaker, a former Google employee and co-founder of the AI ​​Now Institute at New York University, told AFP.

This is why both the EU and the US came to the conclusion that any definition of AI should be as broad as possible.

“Too complex” technologies

The European bill is over 100 pages long. Among his most striking proposals is a total ban on certain “high-risk” technologies, such as biometric surveillance tools used in China.

It also drastically limits the use of AI tools by migration officials, police and judges.

Hasselbach, the academic advising the EU, believes that some technologies are “simply too complex for fundamental rightss”.

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Unlike the EU, in the US the bill is a short set of principles, with statements like “should be protected from insecure or ineffective systems”.

The bill was released by the White House and builds on existing legislation, but experts believe it is unlikely that there will be AI-specific legislation in the United States before 2024.

We desperately need regulation”, Gary Marcus, from New York University, tells AFP, noting that there are “great linguistic models” artificial intelligence–such as chatbots, translation tools, or predictive text software–that can be used to generate harmful misinformation.

Source: Elcomercio

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