Should Tech Leaders be Concerned About the Power of AI?

With insights from Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, we consider if tech leaders are right to be anxious about AI innovation and if regulation is necessary

With countries around the world starting to debate AI regulation, business leaders are having to consider how new rules will impact them.

In the midst of the upcoming EU AI Act coming into play, businesses who are based in or operate across Europe will learn how best to comply. In addition to having clear obligations concerning specific AI use cases, companies will also receive penalties if they do not comply with authorised AI systems.

With the rapid increase of deepfakes and malicious AI cyberattacks leading to data breaches, ultimately, decisions like these aim to provide public reassurance. 

Investing in safe enterprise innovation

In fact, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman was quoted saying that “everyone he knows” is concerned about the dangers and anxieties posed by AI technology.

He explains how he has witnessed a shift towards more business leaders extending their support for wider AI regulations. “It’s not for your children or grandchildren, it’s going to happen on your watch,” he says, speaking at the Asia Pacific Financial and Innovation Symposium last week (April 2024). 

“The people who are scared of the technology, really are the people inventing it.”

However, some companies have expressed distaste for some new regulations, stating that it could damage the potential of innovation. AI-developing businesses are now having to balance creation with risk, which could lead to not realising the full benefits that the technology can offer.

Additionally, it could become more difficult to identify all associated risks. As AI is moving so quickly, there is a worry that AI legislation will become outdated and redundant if introduced too quickly, causing more long-term issues for businesses.

In particular, the UK government is already reviewing its proposed AI regulations. Its legislation would likely put limits on the development of large language models (LLMs), the technology that is used for OpenAI's ChatGPT.

“As we’ve previously said, all countries will eventually need to introduce some form of AI legislation, but we will not rush to do so until there is a clear understanding of the risks,” a government spokesperson tells The Financial Times.

“That’s because it would ultimately result in measures which would quickly become ineffective and outdated.”

The future is AI: Finding new ways to reap the benefits

As AI becomes more intelligent, some experts are saying that they are unable to predict the direction that it will go in, or even what it will become. One of these worries is that it will become smarter and more powerful than humanity, which could lead to the loss of jobs or even, worst-case scenario, a super-level threat to existence.

In this vein, it is important for companies to have machines and infrastructure in place to keep control over AI. This type of self-regulation will operate to keep the global business landscape and key technology sectors innovating in the long run.

AI is already being used as a vital tool within businesses. It is already being harnessed for menial tasks, freeing up experts and human workforces to complete new work or more complex tasks. This is leading to faster productivity and greater progress in innovation.

Likewise, harnessing AI can enable leading technology companies to make more “frictionless decision-making,” as OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea described in the OpenText World Europe 2024 event in London yesterday (15th April 2024).

Organisations that are committed not just being AI-ready, but AI-active, are sure to benefit in the long run - reaping the positive benefits of the technology as a result.

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