There has been a lot of pressure on the US government to regulate AI technology in recent months, an issue that has been raised since last year. In their latest closed-door meeting, President Joe Biden urged everyone, saying we’ve got to move fast here when talking about AI.
Now, seven tech companies namely Alphabet Inc, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, Inflection, Anthropic, and OpenAI have pledged to adhere to the government’s guidelines to ensure safe and responsible innovation.
Why Is There a Sudden Urgency to Regulate AI in the US?
For starters, being quick to regulate AI could be vital in winning the race to dominate technology.
Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote that the urge stems from trying to prevent tech companies from exploiting all possibilities of AI to further cement their influence on customers.
In addition, with all the turmoil between the US and China, the US government has felt more of an urgency to take action, especially after Elon Musk mentioned that China will be the first to initiate the regulation of AI during his recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai:
“It's worth noting that on my recent trip to China, I went to senior leadership there and had some very productive discussions on artificial intelligence risks, and the need for some oversight and regulation,” said Musk. “My understanding from those conversations is that China will be initiating AI regulation.”
Biden’s Plan to Regulate AI
In his meeting last month with the seven tech companies. President Biden warned that unchecked AI will have the potential for both incredible risks and opportunities to the economy.
Biden also mentioned that a four-step initiative has been agreed upon that will underscore the fundamental principles of safety, security, and trust.
The first step of the initiative is to guarantee that the technology is safe for the public. Next, they must safeguard their models against cyber threats and share the best practices and industry standards. Lastly, companies must find ways for AI to help meet society’s greatest challenges and provide opportunities for employment.
Part of the deal also includes adding watermarks to AI-generated images to inform the public of their origin. This measure is done to help people identify authentic and fake pictures on the internet.
The safety measures, however, are voluntary and do not serve as an official piece of regulation. However, ChatGPT creator Sam Altman, agreed that there should be an intervention by the government to mitigate the risks of AI.
How Have Companies Like Amazon, Apple, and Google, Leveraged AI?
Juggernauts such as Apple, Amazon, and Google have leveraged the power of AI for years.
With the news about regulating AI soon, Apple has already begun making changes by pulling the generative AI services from the App Store. However, Apple still has many AI features already in its products that have become a necessity to users such as Siri, autocorrect, face detection, and wireless charging.
From one tech company to another, Google has used AI to help users have a better experience. The basic integrations include searching for anything using a picture from your camera or humming a tune, Maps, and the latest addition is using generative AI to make creative product images
A company like Amazon doesn't become the brand that it is today without AI. One of the ways its leveraged AI to its advantage is in the Amazon warehouse. Through AI, Amazon can then optimize delivery routes, predict customer demand, and personalize communication with customers.
Their latest integration was experimenting with a fairness metric called conditional demographic disparity— a machine learning (ML) model with 21 different metrics to help identify potential bias in the sales pipeline.
How Will the Push to Regulate AI Affect E-commerce?
While AI does help streamline business processes, its limitless potential can pose risks in the long run with one single flaw potentially affecting millions. In one blog from the Harvard Business Review, China has started limiting tech companies as evidenced by their heavy fines on Alibaba. Furthermore, tighter regulations can also put smaller companies at a considerable disadvantage to compete with established competitors.