Michal Kissos Hertzog.

Time is ripe for AI ethics to move from the sidelines to the forefront

The discussion of AI regulation and ethics is on the sidelines at VivaTech this year. It will be interesting to see where the discussion will turn next year

This week marks the opening of Viva Tech 2024, Europe's largest tech exhibition. The central theme that will accompany this year's exhibition is, of course, artificial intelligence. Still, when examining the agenda, it is clear that most of the discourse will revolve around the benefits it creates and how it will help humanity. At the same time, very little attention is paid to its regulatory and moral aspects or the dangers it will bring, such as mass unemployment. Although the exhibition references the regulatory element of the subject for the first time, I think the dosage should be higher because, at the moment, it feels like too little, almost too late.
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מיכל קיסוס מנכ"לית פפר כנס שוק הון צעירים
מיכל קיסוס מנכ"לית פפר כנס שוק הון צעירים
Michal Kissos Hertzog.
FDA for Artificial Intelligence
I've been saying in interviews for some time that AI must be treated almost like medicines, and a mechanism similar to that for the FDA must also be created. Of course, not to stop innovation, God forbid, but to monitor its progress. Just as there have been many age-old discussions around Adam Smith's invisible hand economy and free market, there is also a need for similar discussion and in-depth consideration of tight regulatory intervention, at least in the elements related to and affecting morality and society.
Currently, the AI regulation issue is on the fringes of the agenda. Still, now the time is ripe for it to jump to the top of the discussion, with representatives who are talented, understanding, and senior enough to know how to deal with the magnitude of the event.
We are at a point when two life-changing trends are simultaneously emerging: climate change and artificial intelligence (climate change, by the way, is the second theme in the exhibition). While these two themes will significantly impact our lives, they are not at the top of the discourse because the public has no sense of immediate danger or a sense of emergency. It feels like there is still time before the Earth fails to live up to what we humans are doing to it, and there is still plenty of time before machines take over. But there isn't. There are also constantly parallel actions that reassure us that everything is supposedly under control, such as the "Model Spec" document Open AI published a few weeks ago, explaining their "rules" for AI. The document has received many positive reviews, many applauding the company for its transparency and for taking action to fill the regulatory gap.
Nevertheless, how can one factor be responsible for checks and balances? How can we leave the cat to guard the cream?
Moreover, this document does not refer to Asimov's basic Laws of Robotics. Not even one reference, which in itself is strange. And once again, it establishes the need for regulatory oversight regarding artificial intelligence implications for our society, morality, and economy.
But at the moment, as is often the case, technology is advancing much faster than the relevant regulation, and the agenda at the exhibition is another example, demonstrating that there is not enough in-depth discussion of this regulatory need.
The Israeli opportunity
Despite recent claims that Israel is behind in artificial intelligence and will have a tough time closing the gap, we have also seen dozens of new companies emerge in the field (along with the integration of exceptional artificial intelligence capabilities in areas like cyber) and companies such as Nvidia acquiring Israeli AI companies rapidly. Therefore, Israel still has a great opportunity here. Israeli entrepreneurship has proven itself time and time again in high prominence in burning areas while creating inventive and creative solutions to problems. It stems from an exceptionally talented workforce, resilience and the ability to deal with complex issues in a constantly changing reality, especially regarding software and innovation.
Israel would be better off if the government decided to put its trust in the field and concentrate all its power there. In part so that we will not be left behind in the global race of the field that will only intensify, but mainly so that it will be able to have a foothold in an industry critical to humanity, which will make our small and sometimes fragile country of global importance, similar to what happened in Taiwan with the chip industry.
I also believe this regarding climate in the context of that argument.
See you at Viva Tech in a few days. I promise to update if I learn about a new or different development from what I wrote here.
Michal Kissos Hertzog is the CEO of Poalim Tech.