Regulating Artificial Intelligence: A Look at the Pros and Cons

10/21/2017 11:29 am ET
enisaksoy/Getty Images

Should artificial intelligence be regulated? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Andrew Ng, Co-founder of Coursera; Adjunct Professor at Stanford, on Quora:

AI as a basic technology should not be regulated. It also seems impractical for the government to stop you from implementing a neural network on your laptop. However, there are applications of AI, for example autonomous driving, that need regulation. AI also has new implications on anti-trust (regulation of monopolies), that regulators have not yet thought through but should.

Much of the discussion about AI regulation stems from irrational fears about “sentient AI” or “evil killer robots,” rather than a deeper understanding of what it can and cannot do. Because AI today is still immature and is developing rapidly, heavy-handed regulation by any country will stunt that country’s AI progress.

However, some AI use cases need regulation both to protect individuals, and to accelerate its adoption. The automotive industry is already heavily regulated to ensure safety. Thinking through how these regulations should change in light of new AI capabilities such as autonomous driving will help the whole industry. Same goes for other areas, including pharmaceuticals, arms control, financial markets, and so on. But the regulation should be industry-specific, and based on a thoughtful understanding of the use-cases and on the outcomes we do/don’t want to see in specific sectors, rather than on the basic technology.

The government also has a big role to play to help with the coming job displacements caused by AI, for example to provide basic income and retraining.

Finally, the rise of AI is creating a new way for companies to compete, become dominant, and shut out competitors. Anti-trust regulators are way behind corporations in understanding this new basis of competition, and have a lot of catching up to do.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.