Viewpoint: AI trolls try to undermine innovation by grossly exaggerating risks

artificial intelligence benefits risk
Credit: Future of Life Institute

[A]n open letter, signed by various scientists and researchers [warns] EU policymakers to beware of calls for “weakening regulation and downplaying potential risks related to AI.” This is a popular tactic by many AI alarmists—rather than join the ranks of those opposing the technology outright, they paint themselves as advocates of AI who are merely expressing legitimate concerns. But the rationale for their opposition is as flawed as those who proudly wear the mantle of a neo-Luddite, and if policymakers want the EU to succeed in the digital economy, they should not heed the advice of these AI concern trolls.

AI detractors have little faith in the future. They believe the potential risks of AI outweigh the benefits and thus call for the EU to adhere to the precautionary principle—the idea that new technologies should be heavily regulated and governments should proceed cautiously because it is better to be safe than sorry. But this ignores the overwhelming examples of how AI is having a positive impact in many areas of the economy and society. If EU policymakers want to foster rapid development and adoption of AI they should follow the innovation principle which says that when technological innovations benefit society and pose modest and not irreversible risks, government’s role should be to pave the way for widespread innovation while building guardrails, where necessary, to limit harms. 

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