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Don't let Big Tech write the AI rules : AI Pioneer Yoshua Bengio's Stark Warning
As advances in artificial intelligence show no signs of slowing, concern is mounting over who will control these powerful technologies and the outsized influence they may wield. In an exclusive interview, one of the founding fathers of AI made a sobering prediction - left unchecked, the AI industry risks being monopolized by a select few tech giants with potentially grave consequences for democracy worldwide.
Yoshua Bengio, the Canadian AI legend who helped pioneer deep learning, told Insider the concentration of power in the hands of companies like Google, Microsoft and OpenAI is the "number two problem" facing the field, just behind existential threats posed by increasingly autonomous systems.
With AI projected to deeply permeate every sector of the global economy in the coming decades, Bengio warned that allowing a small number of corporations to dictate how these game-changing technologies are developed and regulated could undermine principles of fair competition and democratic governance on an unprecedented scale.
While regulation of advanced AI is needed to protect public safety and interests, the AI godfather stressed the rules must not be written exclusively by the very companies with the most to gain. If left to design oversight in closed-door meetings, big tech could engineer policies primarily suited to entrench their dominance rather than serving the broader interests of citizens, startups and future generations.
Contrary to claims that regulation will boost big players by imposing disproportionate costs on smaller firms, Bengio argued requirements around transparency and oversight are more likely to impact Google's self-driving cars and Microsoft's conversational AI than narrow, application-specific systems. As the algorithms of the future grow ever more formidable, ensuring democratic stewardship of their development may be crucial to maintaining an open and just society in the digital age.
With the future of who controls AI and its far-reaching impacts at stake, pioneering voices like Bengio's offer a timely reminder that diligent oversight is needed to avoid a few Silicon Valley giants monopolizing the algorithmic levers of 21st century progress.
The question remains whether legislators can rise to the challenge of curbing big tech's growing dominance before its too late.