The EU wants to regulate your favorite AI tools

While the exact way in which these models will be regulated in the AI Act is still under heated debate, creators of general–purpose AI models, such as OpenAI, Google, and DeepMind, will likely need to be more open about how their models are built and trained, says Dragoș Tudorache, a liberal member of the European Parliament who is part of the team negotiating the AI Act. 

Regulating these technologies is tricky, because there are two different sets of problems associated with generative models, and those have very different policy solutions, says Alex Engler, an AI governance researcher at the Brookings Institution. One is the dissemination of harmful AI-generated content, such as hate speech and nonconsensual pornography, and the other is the prospect of biased outcomes when companies integrate these AI models into hiring processes or use them to review legal documents. 

Sharing more information on models might help third parties who are building products on top of them. But when it comes to the spread of harmful AI-generated content, more stringent rules are required. Engler suggests that creators of generative models should be required to build in restraints on what the models will produce, monitor their outputs, and ban users who abuse the technology. But even that won’t necessarily stop a determined person from spreading toxic things.

While tech companies have traditionally been loath to reveal their secret sauce, the current push from regulators for more transparency and corporate accountability might usher in a new age where AI development is less exploitative and is done in a way that respects rights such as privacy. That gives me hope for this year. 

Deeper Learning

Generative AI is changing everything. But what’s left when the hype is gone?

Each year, MIT Technology Review’s reporters and editors select 10 breakthrough technologies that are likely to shape the future. Generative AI, the hottest thing in AI right now, is one of this year’s picks. (But you can, and should, read about the other nine technologies.)

What’s going on: Text-to-image AI models such as OpenAI’s DALL-E took the world by storm. Its popularity surprised even its own creators. And while we will have to wait to see exactly what lasting impact these tools will have on creative industries, and on the entire field of AI, it’s clear this is just the beginning. 

What’s coming: Next year is likely to introduce us to AI models that can do many different things, from generating images from text in multiple languages to controlling robots. Generative AI could eventually be used to produce designs for everything from new buildings to new drugs. “I think that’s the legacy,” Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, told Will Douglas Heaven. “Images, video, audio—eventually, everything will be generated. I think it is just going to seep everywhere.” Read Will’s story

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