Regulation for Thee, but Not for Me

Billy Perrigo, reporting for Time:

The CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, has spent the last month touring world capitals where, at talks to sold-out crowds and in meetings with heads of governments, he has repeatedly spoken of the need for global AI regulation.

But behind the scenes, OpenAI has lobbied for significant elements of the most comprehensive AI legislation in the world — the E.U.’s AI Act — to be watered down in ways that would reduce the regulatory burden on the company, according to documents about OpenAI’s engagement with E.U. officials obtained by Time from the European Commission via freedom of information requests.

I think concerns about the current state of AI are overwrought, and that regulation is not called for. But what Altman seems to be pushing for isn’t a hands-off approach from regulators — instead he just wants it enshrined in law that OpenAI and only OpenAI is exempt from regulations.

A very interesting and cogent paper leaked out of Google a few weeks ago, with the title “We Have No Moat, and Neither Does OpenAI”. The basic argument in the paper is that open-source AI will outcompete Google and OpenAI’s proprietary approaches. Ever since I read this leaked paper, it’s seemed clear to me that Sam Altman believes this as well, and so he’s been devoted to creating a regulatory moat to protect OpenAI.

Tuesday, 20 June 2023