31 Mar 2017
AI regulation?

AI in the modern world: Does artificial intelligence need regulation?

Does it AI need regulating? If so, where would we start?


AI: to regulate, or not to regulate? 

We have spent many weeks exploring the impact Artificial Intelligence has already had in our society. As technology marches on and we continue to see it become more ingrained in our everyday lives, the question arises: who is regulating it?

In particular, Artificial Intelligence is being used to make important decisions. Whether it’s about our health or our finances, AI has got a hand in the final decisions. As we give up our power to the algorithms, what does this mean for our futures?


Regulation v innovation

To thrive, we need innovation. We need the freedom to try, experiment, change and grow. However, there needs to be rules.

We might not want to ‘stifle innovation’, but we do need to ensure it’s done right. With a technology that is still so new – and innovative – it is not really easy to regulate it.

Until AI really means a machine that can work on its own, there needs to be a distinction made between the machine itself, and the humans that are powering it. The minds behind the technology need to regulated and made accountable for the algorithms.


So who is liable?

One of the main areas of concern when it comes to AI is knowing who is responsible for the mistakes. It is inevitable that things will go wrong from time to time. People, businesses, governments, could all be left exposed and in trouble if the worst happens.

If the population is to have confidence in the technology, they also need to know who they can turn to.

There needs to be a big debate around whether it is the companies who have created the technology, or the people implanting it, who are liable for an ‘oops’.

And that is it. In order to succeed the people need to trust. Trust in the technology, and trust in the system around it.


Who’s watching who?

Former UK chancellor George Osborne put ‘regtech’ on the map last year, and hedge fund managers have been amongst the first to feel like someone is watching them. New AI technology has been monitoring traders and sending alerts if behaviour patterns change.

As humans do not have the capacity to review the level of data that this requires, it is up to technology to watch, monitor, and report. Mistakes and possible problems can be found, and dealt with quickly and efficiently, sometimes without anyone really noticing.

Considering recent reports suggest the hedge fund sector is feeling a little shaky, with billions of dollars at stake, secure algorithms protecting our cash could help restore our faith in the sector.

With AI ready to raise the alarm to prevent a future banking crisis, we can all sleep peacefully now – right?

But this just raises the same question again. If AI is watching us, who is watching AI?


The future is regulated

At the moment, the future of AI regulation is unclear. The debates are still raging and the calls of the UK Government for tech companies to step up, and figure it out, are still echoing through the halls of parliament.

When we leave it to technology to make decisions for our lives, there needs to be somewhere left to turn. We still need protection, but we need to distinguish who we need this protection from.

It might not be from a real-life ‘Terminator’ robot uprising, but rather the people behind the technology. We can’t blame the technology itself. Maybe our attention needs to turn to regulating the minds behind the technology.

It is probably too early to regulate AI now, but we must keep our conscience clear.

Artificial Intelligence will have a place in our future – it’s the law!