Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly advancing and raising numerous questions about its impact on society. Congress and bipartisan lawmakers have been holding hearings and introducing bills to address concerns about AI’s implications. However, it is crucial to consider the potential risks of deterring innovation or exacerbating dangers while legislating AI’s future application.
At this point, AI is in a state of uncertainty, similar to Schrödinger’s cat. We cannot definitively say whether AI will be a gift or a curse. Therefore, it is essential to focus on what we do know: data fuels AI. The Federal Trade Commission stresses that large datasets are the foundation of generative AI models. Addressing data management issues before speculating on AI’s use is a logical step.
Currently, a few major tech companies like Google, Meta, and Apple have significant control over data access, aggregation, and distribution. Their dominance in shaping the future of AI poses a risk. If their control remains unchecked, they can consume or destroy potential disruptors, potentially hindering AI’s benefits. Addressing control of the data marketplace, promoting transparency, and providing oversight is crucial to ensuring AI benefits its users and safeguards cybersecurity.
Another pressing issue is online child safety. Tech services have been linked to negative effects on children’s mental health, yet little has been done to curtail these harms. Policies related to AI fail to adequately address these concerns.
Fortunately, Congress can simultaneously evaluate AI’s future while addressing current imbalances and harms. Several bipartisan bills, such as the AMERICA Act, the Kids Online Safety Act, and the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, target Big Tech’s anticompetitive behavior, data management practices, and child safety. It is crucial to prioritize building a solid foundation in data policy to optimize AI in the long run.
Congress should not let short-sighted anticipation of the future hinder the opportunities to establish critical data policies now. By safeguarding data and addressing current challenges, we can shape the future of AI responsibly and for the benefit of society.