Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a subject of concern for many years, as its applications have become more prevalent in our daily lives. However, Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya has debunked the myth that AI is unregulated, emphasizing that companies using the technology remain subject to the same consumer protection and civil rights laws that have existed for decades.
Bedoya addressed this issue during a 21-minute speech at a conference of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He stated that there is a misconception that AI is not governed by any laws, which he referred to as a “powerful, intuitive appeal.” However, he noted that current laws do apply to companies using AI.
He pointed out that unfair and deceptive trade practices apply to AI, and any company that injures consumers in a way that satisfies the test for unfairness when using or releasing AI can be held accountable. Additionally, products or services powered by AI are also subject to civil rights laws, as well as laws regarding liability for injuries. There is no exemption for AI companies.
Bedoya went on to criticize the lack of transparency from developers, particularly the OpenAI report that omitted details about the architecture, model size, hardware, training compute, dataset construction, and training method of large-scale models like GPT-4. He argued that outside researchers and government officials need to be involved in analyzing and stress-testing these models, which is difficult to do with opacity.
While Bedoya was stressing the importance of regulating AI, some industry watchers have been expressing skepticism about the technology. Recently, the advocacy group Center for AI and Digital Policy requested the FTC to halt further commercial releases of the language model software GPT-4, citing that it is biased, deceptive, and a risk to privacy and public safety. Even President Joe Biden voiced concerns about AI, saying that while it can help deal with difficult challenges like disease and climate change, potential risks to society, the economy, and national security must be addressed.