Thought Leader Thinking: AI Both Good and Bad. Now That Is an Analysis of Note

August 17, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read what I consider a “thought piece.” This type of essay discusses a topic and attempts to place it in a context of significance. The “context” is important. A blue chip consulting firm may draft a thought piece about forever chemicals. Another expert can draft a thought piece about these chemicals in order to support the companies producing them. When thought pieces collide, there is a possible conference opportunity, definitely some consulting work to be had, and today maybe a ponderous online webinar. (Ugh.)

8 17 don quixote

A modern Don Quixote and thought leader essay writer lines up a windmill and charges. As the bold 2023 Don shouts, “Vile and evil windmill, you pretend to grind grain but you are a mechanical monster destroying the fair land. Yield, I say.” The mechanical marvel just keeps on turning and the modern Don is ignored until a blade of the windmill knocks the knight to the ground.” Thanks, MidJourney. It only took three tries to get close to what I described. Outstanding evidence of degradation of function.

The AI Power Paradox: Can States Learn to Govern Artificial Intelligence—Before It’s Too Late?” considers the “problem” of smart software. My recollection is that artificial intelligence and machine learning have been around for decades. I have a vivid recollection of a person named Marvin Weinberger I believe. This gentleman made an impassioned statement at an Information Industry Association meeting about the need for those in attendance to amp up their work with smart software. The year, as I recall, was 1981.

The thought piece does not dwell on the long history of smart software. The interest is in what the thought piece presents as it context; that is:

And generative AI is only the tip of the iceberg. Its arrival marks a Big Bang moment, the beginning of a world-changing technological revolution that will remake politics, economies, and societies.

The excitement about smart software is sufficiently robust to magnetize those who write thought pieces. Is the outlook happy or sad? You judge. The essay asserts:

In May 2023, the G-7 launched the “Hiroshima AI process,” a forum devoted to harmonizing AI governance. In June, the European Parliament passed a draft of the EU’s AI Act, the first comprehensive attempt by the European Union to erect safeguards around the AI industry. And in July, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the establishment of a global AI regulatory watchdog.

I like the reference to Hiroshima.

The thought piece points out that AI is “different.”

It does not just pose policy challenges; its hyper-evolutionary nature also makes solving those challenges progressively harder. That is the AI power paradox. The pace of progress is staggering.

The thought piece points out that AI or any other technology is “dual use”; that is, one can make a smart microwave or one can make a smart army of robots.

Where is the essay heading? Let’s try to get a hint. Consider this passage:

The overarching goal of any global AI regulatory architecture should be to identify and mitigate risks to global stability without choking off AI innovation and the opportunities that flow from it.

From my point of view, we have a thought piece which recycles a problem similar to squaring the circle.

The fix, according to the thought piece, is to create a “minimum of three AI governance regimes, each with different mandates, levers, and participants.

To sum up, we have consulting opportunities, we have webinars, and we have global regulatory “entities.” How will that work out? Have you tried to get someone in a government agency, a non-governmental organization, or federation of conflicting interests to answer a direct question?

While one waits for the smart customer service system to provide an answer, the decades old technology will zip along leaving thought piece ideas in the dust. Talk global; fail local.

Stephen E Arnold, August 17, 2023


One Response to “Thought Leader Thinking: AI Both Good and Bad. Now That Is an Analysis of Note”

  1. Marvin Weinberger on August 18th, 2023 10:02 am

    Thanks for the shout-out

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