President Biden and the FTC Reach to Control Artificial Intelligence

( – Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to be a concept of the future, a lofty potential on the horizon of imagination and invention, something to reach for but not yet a real invention, and certainly not something affecting everyday life. That seemingly distant future has indeed arrived, full steam ahead, with implications not yet regulated or controlled by any governmental entity.

To that end, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is increasing staff and developing plans to tackle the challenges that AI now poses to the American public and to the rest of the world. Vying for control in that realm are also technology leaders and Federal level lawmakers. The question for all is whether the government should have a say in the parameters surrounding AI and further related developments in the AI world. All fronts recognize the difficulties ahead in reining in the invention to protect citizens, balanced with the need for the United States to remain at the forefront of the invention and the ways it can and will be used.

President Biden took time to meet with AI advisers and experts regarding national security and the potential risks posed by the use of AI. His goal is to balance developing technology rights with safety and careful invention, especially as it pertains to children. He is also concerned with the potential of AI to collect data from American citizens, and the ways in which that data could be used or misused.

AI proponents like Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk are wary of the FTC’s attempt to regulate the technology, questioning the FTC’s jurisdiction to do so, but the FTC argues that its monitoring of fair trade practices as it relates to the American consumer gives it room to stay in the discussion. Specifically, for example, the FTC is concerned that AI can create fake products that would be misleading, and that it can imitate human conversations such as online product reviews.

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