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Tech Entrepreneurs and Feds Discuss Contradicting Opinions on AI at Stanford

In this post:

  • Rights activists, members of government bodies, and tech entrepreneurs expressed their views on AI at Stanford University.
  • Tech entrepreneurs say that the United States should have pro-tech policies and expect good outcomes from AI.
  • Feds and rights activists see AI as a threat to creativity and fair competition and express concerns about creators’ compensation.

Differing opinions on artificial intelligence were voiced Thursday at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Scientists, executives, human rights advocates, and researchers presented their opinions on AI.

Government professionals and tech analysts shared divergent views on AI’s role. Some called it an opportunity to improve many industries, while others said it threatened creative industries. 

The conference’s agenda was to promote competition in AI. The United States Department of Justice and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research co-hosted the event.

Rights Activists Hold Dissimilar Beliefs

Researchers said that artificial intelligence technology brings new possibilities. That said, it also brings intricate challenges as the technology is in its early phases of development and has a far-reaching impact. 

Also read: SAG-AFTRA and Record Labels Reach Deal for Artist Protection Against AI

AI technology is developing at astonishing speeds, beyond what analysts initially predicted. Rights activist Duncan Crabtree-Ireland is the executive director and negotiator for the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild). Crabtree-Ireland said that AI has provided an opportunity for a few powerful companies to take people’s work without their consent.  

Crabtree-Ireland, who negotiated the union’s historic 2023 TV/Theatrical Contract, said that AI companies profit from creators’ work without compensating them. He said,

“It is not okay to take someone’s face, voice, performance, and use it to create something without their permission, both sides need to have a balance that respects individuals and respects human creativity.”

The chief legal officer of Advance Publications, Michael Fricklas, said AI has brought many troubles for journalism. Advance Publications is the parent company of Conde Nast, a New York-based global media company. Fricklas said that the situation right now is that large amounts of content are taken from newspapers without any accountability.

Tech Experts Are Excited About AI

Percy Liang, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford said that since the debut of ChatGPT, new modes are launching every week. This fast speed of innovation brings problems like addressing accuracy and bias in the AI models.

Tech Entrepreneurs and Feds Discuss Contradicting Opinions on AI at Stanford
Promoting competition in AI. Stanford University.

Some participants had different views on technology. They said that governments and markets should be positive about AI and that AI has the potential to improve many sectors of manufacturing and services. The healthcare sector is already leveraging artificial intelligence for assessing patient reports and even designing new drugs.

David Kizner, chief privacy officer at Viz.ai, said that their company developed a system to help medical staff speed up the process of identifying the type of stroke. A stroke called large vessel occlusion has two different subtypes and can be lethal if not identified correctly. 

Kizner said that their solution doesn’t feel like “exciting generative AI; this is kind of old school computer vision stuff,” as it’s more for assessing CT studies, MRIs, or ultrasounds and finding suspected conditions. Kizner stressed that these solutions are critical in life-and-death situations and are based on AI, despite being a bit boring for attendees, so he will not go into many specific details.

DeepLearning.AI’s founder, Andrew Ng, had observations on the political stance of some politicians. He said,

“I wish America remained firmly pro-competition and pro-tech.”

Ng was referring to Bernie Sanders. He said that Sanders called out individual entrepreneurs. He specifically mentioned Elon Musk and said that Sanders called out Musk by name for the sin of being successful. His point was that the US should be a pro-tech society.

Government Official Expresses Concerns

Government officials said that regulating partnerships in technology markets and information rights are big concerns. The US Department of Justice’s assistant attorney general, Jonathan Kanter, said that effective antitrust enforcement often contradicts major industrial and technological change.

Also read: Will the Google Antitrust Case Decide Its Role in AI Development?

Kanter mentioned the victory in the 2001 case against Microsoft for illegal monopolization, which opened the way for the success of today’s companies. He highlighted the benefit of enforcing antitrust at times of industrial evolution that provided a level playing field to advance innovation. He said that he noted trends in AI that need to be addressed. The attorney general noted that,

“AI relies on massive amounts of data and computing power, which can give already-dominant firms a substantial advantage.”

Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova said that the EU regulates technology firmly. She said that in Europe, people are working hard to find answers to these challenges brought by digitization and adopting their own approach to them. Jourova said that the idea is simple and it’s that technology is to serve people. Not the other way around. 

“We are not mere data fields for tech companies to harvest from and then make the decisions for us or make money on our thoughts and fears.”

Jourova said that the EU designs laws to address risks for people and open markets that have been closed by big players, who have become too big to compete against. She said both the EU and the US are facing similar problems. 

VP said that we still have a chance to shape the AI revolution. Hinting at the competition challenges, she said, “It is hard to imagine a kid with a vision challenging Microsoft and Open AI, or Meta’s LlaMa 2 or Google’s DeepMind.”


Cryptopolitan reporting by Aamir Sheikh

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