We need to be talking about rules, and those rules will inevitably be informed by our ethics.Gillian HadfieldProfessor of Law and Strategic Management; Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society at the University of Toronto; Director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society
At a minimum, we should have national registry offices so that we know who is building a powerful model at any moment. Historically, scientific advances usually took place in public sector organizations like universities, in corporate R&D departments, or through government research, and the science behind those advances was published. Everybody could study new chemistry or new physics. But many modern technologies like these AI models are being built almost entirely in secret inside private technology companies that are protected by a wall of intellectual property law – which we created.
We have to have a registration scheme that requires disclosure of that kind of research. We could require that any company that wants to do business within a country needs to be registered. We already have a registration system for cars, after all, because we recognize their dangers. We need to put the infrastructure in place that gives us a lever to pull if we discover bad behavior and want to conduct a safety investigation. Based on what we find, we could then make a decision like, “Don’t sell that technology to bad actor X.” Once that system is in place, there are interesting discussions to be had around the licensing and testing regimes that make sure models are safe at the
point of production.
The reality is that AI is already being governed right now, but only inside the companies developing it. That’s not democratic, and our democratic institutions should be the ones making the choices about what paths we take as humans. I would call for some very dramatic rethinking about the roles of corporations and governments in society. We still want to harness the profit motive, but we’re watching a world being built by corporate actors, with engineers operating under those incentives. I don’t criticize them for that, and I certainly don’t think we can solve it by just wagging our finger and saying, “Be more ethical.” Instead, we must restructure our institutions in response.
The key debate comes down to this: Who decides what we build and how we build it? These are questions that need to be securely rooted in our democratic institutions
Gillian Hadfield is a professor of law and strategic management. She is the inaugural Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. Previously, she was the Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California (USC). At USC, Hadfield directed the Southern California Innovation Project and the USC Center for Law, Economics and Organization. Gillian attended a residency at the Bellagio Center in 2022 with a project titled “Reinventing global governance for AI.”
Welcome to a special edition of the Bellagio Bulletin, where you’ll have a chance to hear from leading voices within the alumni network on one of the greatest global challenges of our time – the ethical application and governance of artificial intelligence. We hope you’ll find their points of view as illuminating as we have […]More