Issue #30: Will 2022 be the year of global AI & tech regulation?
The EU, US and China could prepare impactful legal frameworks
How much privacy would you give up to receive better digital services? While there has never been a consumer mass exodus from large platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Amazon due to privacy concerns, legislators, activists and experts call for more regulation to protect users. With data-driven business models, private information becomes the source of micro-targeting and eerily accurate sales recommendations. This year, there might be a slight turn towards a rule-based digital world with several countries working on legal frameworks that could limit algorithm-based businesses — if governments manage to impose rules and sanctions.
I hope you enjoy this edition!
Headlines you shouldn’t miss
TIME Artificial Intelligence Can Now Craft Original Jokes—And That’s No Laughing Matter: Naomi Fitter, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University, has developed the robot comedian ‘Jon the Robot.’ The little machine can tell jokes in a specific order, but what is remarkable about him is that he can recognize the audience’s reaction to his comedic performance. He can change pace and adjust his responses depending on the laughter it records. While not being as sophisticated as real comedians, the robot indicates that machine learning is on its way to picking up complex cues of human behavior.
FORTUNE A.I. could make your company more productive—but not if it makes your people less happy: Artificial intelligence is here to stay and business leaders are increasingly applying new solutions. However, AI can have downsides in the workplace. AI could lead to extensive monitoring of employees, reduce human relationships and leave leftover tasks to workers — all of these aspects can lead to decreased productivity.
VENTURE BEAT 43% of consumers feel transparency is key for positive AI innovations: A recent report by Cogito captured consumers’ understanding of AI. Only 15% believe that AI is a threat to their job, while 43% see it as a positive innovation. More than half of respondents admitted not understanding how AI-driven tools function, but nearly 8 in 10 people would trust its recommendations.
CNBC How A.I. is set to evolve in 2022: AI solutions mainly focus on narrow tasks where they excel and beat human capabilities. While this is very far from the sci-fi vision of developing artificial general intelligence that could provide holistic thinking, in 2022, investments and attention will flow into the technology to enable it to do more. Experts believe that AI could improve health services, and paired with RNA technology, it might save lives. Observers will follow DeepMind, the disruptive AI company owned by Google’s parent corporation, Alphabet.
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Will 2022 be the year of global AI & tech regulation?
Dealing with data-driven business models that harness customers' information has been grabbing the attention of legislators since the dawn of information technology. In 2022, we could witness a global push towards more regulation of artificial intelligence and other algorithm-based products. This is likely to bring new challenges for businesses that operate with large data sets and pose the question of how much privacy citizens will demand. In the following months, these are the developments to expect:
⚖️ This week, the European Commission published a brief statement with the core policies it will work on in 2022. The broadest topic is ‘digital transformation.’ The EU will work on the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, aiming to protect users and debate the Artificial Intelligence Act in the European Parliament. The Commission proposed a draft in April 2021, which MEPs will debate. The special committee on artificial intelligence will work on proposals that will allow the legal framework to boost the economy while simultaneously protecting users’ rights.
🔒 On March 1st, China’s recent algorithm regulation will come into effect. The broad set of rules is supposed to
forbid the use of algorithms that interfere with Chinese laws and national security, including the spread of ‘fake news.’ Companies working with algorithms that recommend news need a license.
help users to opt-out of recommendations via algorithms.
force companies to inform users about the “basic principles, purpose and main operation mechanism.”
allow users to delete tags and keywords used in recommendation algorithms.
protect the elderly from online scams while forcing companies to push safe use and information.
Companies not complying with the rules shall be fined. Yet many observers are curious to see how Beijing will enforce the new regulation and how it will affect the business models of the big tech juggernauts of the Chinese economy.
🏛️ Parity’s CEO Liz O’Sullivan predicts that the White House will push for the first US algorithmic bill of rights that aims at developing a standard for ‘Responsible AI.’ Additionally, O’Sullivan believes that the Federal Trade Commission could push for more consumer rights in the context of ‘consumer-facing’ AI. Additionally, existing legal bills could be updated for the new age of data-driven technology, and AI exports could be regulated to avoid abuse as surveillance against minorities.
Quote of the week: Robert T. Atkinson tells you to calm down
Is AI the gate to a new technological utopia or a facilitator of doom and gloom? On both ends of the spectrum, entrepreneurs, experts and scholars argue that each option is possible. The economist Robert T. Atkinson, who serves as the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), doesn’t believe any extreme hype. In a Korean Times opinion piece called “Calm down: AI isn't magic, just software,” he explains why he rejects both utopian and dystopian beliefs:
“The idea that AI will lead to significantly increased income inequality is even more farfetched, for it implies that there will be a handful of mega-corporations and their founders that make never-before-seen profit rates so large as to suck up all the wealth benefits from AI. The only way that happens is if the laws of economics and competition were repealed.
What about the rise of the AI surveillance state? This is certainly something to worry about if one lives in an authoritarian nation without core human rights, like China. But the idea that just because China uses AI in ways that violate human rights, does not mean that AI will be used to surveil people in democracies. The latter have laws and regulations that protect people from government surveillance, whether through AI or other technologies.”
Podcast of the week: Juliane Pepitone and Rob Pulciani on personalized AI applications
Journalist Juliane Pepitone talks with Rob Pulciani about how artificial intelligence can help individuals. Pulciani, the Executive Vice President of AI and Machine Learning Product at Capital One and former Vice President of Amazon’s Alexa, believes that personal assistants can improve individuals handling financial questions and health monitoring. In this edition of the Innovation For All mini-series, Pepitone and Pulciani as well touch upon data privacy and the balance between data protection and the necessity to accumulate data to improve digital services: My AI: Why personalized artificial intelligence could be the next big (fastcompany.com)