US govt makes moves to start regulating AI

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 12 Apr 2023

The US government is seeking comments in order to start the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

This, as AI platforms such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT have gone viral since being launched in November.

Yesterday, the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched a request for comment (RFC) to advance its efforts to ensure AI systems work as claimed – and without causing harm.

The insights gathered will inform the Biden Administration’s ongoing work to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive federal government approach to AI-related risks and opportunities, it says.

The RFC solicits input from stakeholders in the policy, legal, business, academic, technical and advocacy arenas on how to develop a productive AI accountability ecosystem.

In South Africa, the Information Regulator recently told ITWeb that it is holding internal discussions on how to approach the regulation of viral chatbot ChatGPT and other AI technologies, to ensure they don’t violate data privacy laws.

Says NTIA in a statement: “While people are already realising the benefits of AI, there are a growing number of incidents where AI and algorithmic systems have led to harmful outcomes.

“There is also growing concern about potential risks to individuals and society that may not yet have manifested, but which could result from increasingly powerful systems.”

It adds that companies have a responsibility to make sure their AI products are safe before making them available.

Businesses and consumers using AI technologies and individuals whose lives and livelihoods are affected by these systems have a right to know they have been adequately vetted and risks have been appropriately mitigated, it notes.

“Responsible AI systems could bring enormous benefits, but only if we address their potential consequences and harms. For these systems to reach their full potential, companies and consumers need to be able to trust them,” says Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information and NTIA administrator.

“Our inquiry will inform policies to support AI audits, risk and safety assessments, certifications and other tools that can create earned trust in AI systems.”

NTIA’s “AI Accountability Policy Request for Comment” seeks feedback on what policies can support the development of AI audits, assessments, certifications and other mechanisms to create earned trust in AI systems that they work as claimed.

“Much as financial audits create trust in the accuracy of a business’s financial statements, so for AI, such mechanisms can help provide assurance that an AI system is trustworthy in that it does what it is intended to do without adverse consequences,” says NTIA.

“Just as food and cars are not released into the market without proper assurance of safety, so too AI systems should provide assurance to the public, government and businesses that they are fit for purpose.”