Watchdog Seeks Ban On 'Harmful' Uses Of AI

A consumer advocacy coalition is urging President Joe Biden to support new regulations that could curb “clearly harmful” uses of advanced artificial intelligence.

The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, which represents dozens of advocacy groups, says it's concerned about the “serious downsides and harms” that could be caused by artificial intelligence that can generate text, images and other content.

Those harms could include the potential for discrimination and threats to privacy, the organization says.

“Generative artificial intelligence systems are incentivized to suck up as much data as possible ... leading to inclusion of personal data that may be irremovable,” the watchdog says in a letter signed by Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, digital policy director for the advocacy group Norwegian Consumer Council, and Calli Schroeder, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. (Both groups are among the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue's dozens of members.)

“Where training models include data that is biased or discriminatory, those biases become baked into the generative artificial intelligence’s outputs, creating increasingly more biased and discriminatory content that is then disseminated,” the letter continues.

The group is pressing for “transparency, accountability, and safety” in generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) and a prohibition on uses of the technology that are “clearly harmful or likely to be clearly harmful.”

The Norwegian Consumer Council also released a report outlining current uses of generative artificial intelligence, potential problems associated with the technology, and policy recommendations.

Among the potential drawbacks are “violations of privacy and personal integrity” and "the creation of fraud and misinformation,” according to the report.

“It is essential that these problems are sufficiently addressed by enforcing, applying, and establishing laws and regulations that serve to protect consumers from various negative consequences,” the report states.

The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue isn't the only organization expressing concerns about artificial intelligence. Earlier this year, the advocacy group Center for AI and Digital Policy petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to halt further commercial releases of OpenAI's large language model software, GPT-4, calling it “biased, deceptive, and a risk to privacy and public safety.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also recently warned that artificial intelligence could harm privacy and promote bias, absent “appropriate and reasonable protections.”

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