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AI is pervasive and expanding, from self-driving cars to bots that serve us advertisements. Lawmakers must act now

Whether or not self-driving vehicles are available where you live, the reality remains that if you have used the internet in any form, you have encountered something that was heavily affected by artificial intelligence. Intelligent household goods like refrigerators and vacuum cleaners are only the beginning; now, AI is used in everything from driving cars to picking relevant advertisements.

Proponents of AI argue that it will transform people’s lives, while detractors warn that it poses the serious danger of entrusting crucial decisions to machines.

Although AI has made significant strides in the previous several years, legislators in Europe and North America are just now beginning to consider how to regulate the technology.

The European Union is likely to pass The AI Act, a piece of legislation designed to regulate the rise of algorithms, in the next year. In the United States, a proposed AI Bill of Rights was just made public, and similar legislation is being studied in Canada.

The authoritarian nature of China’s use of AI has been widely discussed; the country’s efforts to employ biometric data, face recognition, and other technologies to establish a robust system of control have been particularly prominent.

The process of codifying and defining AI is onerous, but it must be done before it can be governed.

Brown University professor and co-author of the AI Bill of Rights Suresh Venkatasubramanian calls the attempt to define artificial intelligence “a mug’s game.”

He said that the legislation should apply to all forms of technology that violate human rights.

To that purpose, the European Union has often come into problems trying to define the topic as widely as possible. As written, the proposed legislation would classify as artificial intelligence any computer-based automation system. In this case, the problem is due to changing definitions of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the catchall term for decades to describe efforts to build robots with intelligence similar to that of humans. However, funding for symbolic AI research dwindled significantly in the early 2000s.