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Artificial Intelligence and the Regulatory Gap: Is it Time for a New Approach?

Balancing AI Innovation and Responsibility.

Want to hear a joke?

I asked ChatGPT4 to write me a joke about how slow the government is to regulate technology. Here’s what it came up with:

The government moves slower than a snail on Xanax when it comes to regulating things like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. By the time they get around to it, we'll all be driving flying cars and communicating telepathically.

Funny, because it’s true.

Governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate AI and to maximize its potential benefits while also minimizing its potential harms.

From my perspective, the government's ability to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) is severely limited, if not entirely non-existent.

Let’s just say, judging off historical performance, I have some doubts.

There are many examples throughout history of times when the government was too slow to regulate something, often with negative consequences.

  1. Tobacco: For decades, the tobacco industry was largely unregulated in the United States, despite mounting evidence of the health risks associated with smoking. It wasn't really until the 1970s that the government began to regulate tobacco, with measures such as warning labels on cigarette packages, restrictions on advertising, and taxes on tobacco products.

  2. Pollution: For many years, industries were allowed to pollute the environment with very few restrictions. (Many still are, and/or they do with little punishment.) The government began to regulate pollution, with measures such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act but those keep getting rolled back and deregulated, and we are FAR from where we need to be as far as pollution and environmental regulations. The Trump Administration alone rolled back over 100 environmental safeguards.

  3. Financial sector: The financial crisis of 2008 highlighted the dangers of a largely unregulated financial sector. Prior to the crisis, banks and other financial institutions were able to take on risky investments with few restrictions. It wasn't until after the crisis that the government passed regulations such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to try to prevent similar crises from happening in the future. Although with the recent Silicon Valley Bank run, it’s proof they are still behind on things in finance.