Recently, at Google’s second annual Go North conference, Shivon Zilis, the Director of OpenAI, and Tim Hwang, the AI Fund Director of Ethics and Governance, discussed policy decisions and public oversight of artificial intelligence (“AI”). Zilis noted that there is a need for more crossover discussion between the AI development community and the people forming public policy. Hwang worried that AI researchers are “basically writing policy in code” and that there is “no good way for the public at large to signal” the direction AI development should take.1 Their comments highlight an important point: The researchers, developers, startups, and established companies working in AI are rapidly creating the industry right now. That industry is not established yet, but it will be soon, and the history of government regulation shows that it is easier to regulate a new industry than a mature industry. The most effective way to regulate AI’s direction in the future is to regulate it now.
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