Will.i.am warns of dangers of ungoverned AI use
US musician, actor and tech entrepreneur William Adams Jr, better known as Will.i.am, has raised concerns about the dangers of ungoverned use of artificial intelligence (AI), as the tech becomes an integral part of modern society.
Will.i.am made an appearance via hologram live from Los Angeles at the recent Sentech Africa Tech Week in Cape Town. He was interviewed by Leanne Manas, South African journalist and TV anchor, on how new technologies in the AI space can lead to economic upliftment through innovation and creativity.
While the development of AI is on track to propel societies and industries to unprecedented levels of progress, the musician warned lack of AI regulation could result in dire consequences for some sectors of society.
Will.i.am is a philanthropist and co-founder and CEO of AI platform Focus Your Ideas, which aims to empower the next generation of creators with emerging tech tools.
According to the musician, modern advancement in AI has made it possible for business to develop systems in an expanding range of fields, creating new industries, products and services, ensuring efficiencies across operations.
“Artificial intelligence has the power to transform many industries, and when I say transform, I mean for the good and for the bad.
“There are currently no regulations that regulate AI and ensure there is less bad than good. But because I am an optimist, I am tackling the subject of AI to inspire people to create new industries with the AI tool.”
The need for AI regulation is back in the spotlight after US AI firm OpenAI in November launched text-based chatbot ChatGPT, which uses AI to interact in conversational dialogue form and provide responses that can appear human.
In March, Italy became the first country to ban ChatGPT, saying the chatbot unlawfully collects personal data – breaching the country’s data privacy rules.
There are growing concerns over the potential risks of ChatGPT and other AI-based technologies. These issues relate to data protection, infringement of user rights, copyright protection and manipulation, as organisations across the globe race to rollout AI systems.
On a positive note, AI can play a crucial role in augmenting services in new ways and in creating multiple new industries across disciplines such as finance, law and education, according to Will.i.am.
“We are at the crossroads where we are watching the world be reshaped by artificial intelligence, and we need to start discussing how this is going to shape problem-solving.”
As to the possibility of AI replacing jobs in future, he pointed out that many jobs may be displaced, but new jobs and a modern approach to working will be adopted.
“There are many people's jobs which are at stake; for example, my job of music. Through technology, you create jobs which never existed. In 2028, I am not going to make music the same way I made music in 1998, so that job is already threatened but in a new way.”
Will.i.am’s non-governmental organisation, I.am.angel Foundation, is focused on tech skills development for youth. Ithas upskilled 13 000 youth in the US since inception 12 years ago – many of whom have also received financial support for university training, he noted.