January 18, 2024No Comments

AI Regulatory Landscape in the US and the EU: Regulating the Unknown – AI, Cybersecurity, Space Group 

Author: Oleg Abdurashitov and Caterina Panzetti - AI, Cyber Security & Space Team

Among other things 2023 was a year of AI regulation in the EU, US and well beyond. The fundamental challenge that policymakers face in the case of AI is that, in essence, they are often dealing with the unknowns resulting from the complexity of the technology itself and the break-neck speed of its development and adoption. Given the incessant debate on whether AI poses an existential risk to humanity that needs to be addressed at the earlier stages or if such existential risks are merely a smoke screen to the far more urgent and practical implications of widespread AI deployment on privacy, copyright, human rights, labor market, setting the regulatory priorities appears to be challenging. Analyzing what the regulators in the US and Europe chose to focus on and how they framed AI regulatory doctrine may help to better understand not just their priorities but the differences in respective institutional, political and economic environments and approaches to dealing with the emerging technologies. 

United States 

Despite the existential threat narrative peddled by the largest industry players, including at the Senate hearings, thePresidential Order Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence seems to be more grounded in the current reality when assessing AI's potential risks. While the act attempts to address several critical security issues - from AI-enabled cyber operations to the threat of WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) development - it can nonetheless be viewed as an effort to prepare the American economy and society for the age of AI use across the numerous (if not all) sectors. 

The Order’s approach is based on the unique strength of the US economy and governance model that heavily relies on the enormous capacity of the US tech sector, as well as on the diverse environment of the nation’s civil society, where educational institutions, think tanks, and the legal system all play a role in shaping and implementing regulations. Probably, the most critical aspect of the AI regulatory environment is that in the US the recent AI breakthroughs are funded by private capital as opposed to the state budgets like in China[1] or, largely, the EU[2]. This, on the one hand, allows the US to retain the competitive edge in the AI race, with the so-called  MAGMA[3] companies bearing a large share of the R&D costs in developing breakthrough commercial AI products. On the other, this puts the US government in a position where the sectoral regulation shall be balanced against the interests of the commercial players and enable, rather than control, the technology development and adoption.      

The Order implicitly acknowledges this complex interplay between the commercial interests, the interests of the state, and American society’s demands. Section 2 (Policy and Principles) in particular broadly outlines the many aspects of AI development - from safety to impact on the workforce - that need to be balanced against each other. Again, given the enormity of such a task, the Order is short on specific details - and when such details are given they often leave the question of whether it will be able to address the long-term security implications of AI development open. 

For instance, in Section 4 the Order puts the “dual-use foundation models” that may pose “a serious risk to security, national economic security, national public health or safety” under increased regulatory and technical scrutiny. The definition of such a model as the one containing “at least tens of billions of parameters” covers the leading large language models (LLMs) behind ChatGPT and Google Bard, with each having more than 100 billion parameters. The Order’s approach to regulating such powerful models relies largely on industry guidelines (such as the NIST AI Risk Management Framework[4]) developed in collaboration with the private sector players themselves complemented by a series of government-funded testbeds for risk assessment.

It is important to note, that while the commonly agreed approach to AI model training can be described as “greater is better”, there is evidence that the output of models with a far smaller number of parameters (1.5B to 2.7B) can be somewhat comparable to that of larger models[5]. Additionally, while larger models are generally controlled by specific entities, the open-source models (such as Meta’s Llama available in packages of 7B, 13B, and 70B parameters[6]) may be used by a far wider number of actors developing their own powerful models, potentially falling outside the regulatory scrutiny and export control measures. 

More so, the Order explicitly focuses on very large models as subject to regulatory restrictions, like “[a] model that was trained using a quantity of computing power greater than 1026 integer or floating-point operations”. That number, for instance, is significantly higher than the rumoured estimates for the most advanced model in the market today - OpenAI’s GPT-4 - which currently stands around 2.15 x 1025 FLOPs (floating point operations)[7]. If the field will sustain the current pace of innovation, this threshold may well be crossed shortly. However, there is so far little evidence that such models would indeed represent “potential capabilities that could be used in malicious cyber-enabled activity” since malicious cyber operations of today require far less computing power and the “cyber-enabled” definition may simply be too broad to have meaning in regulatory context.  

Of course, the proposed control regime for the large ‘dual-use models’ need not necessarily fully address the issue of AI-powered malicious activity as of today. Instead, the Order directs federal agencies to study the best practices and guidelines of the critical infrastructure sectors to manage “AI-specific cybersecurity risks” and “develop tools to evaluate AI capabilities to generate outputs that may represent nuclear, nonproliferation, biological, chemical, critical infrastructure, and energy-security threats or hazards” as well as assess the risks of AI usage in the critical infrastructure and government systems. From this point of view, the Order implicitly acknowledges the fact that AI models are already largely deployed both in the private and public sectors and calls for measures to discover and reduce the risks of such use. 

Notably, the US DoD’s Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Adoption Strategy[8], released months earlier in June 2023 prioritizes speed of deployment over careful risk assessment that the Presidential Order entails. To the military, the “[AI deployment] risks will be managed not by flawless forecasting, but by continuous deployment powered by campaigns of learning”. More so, the DoD calls for mitigation of policy barriers through consensus building and closer relations with vendors, as well as the AI community at large. Despite the risks of AI deployment being no less profound in the military sector than in civilian affairs, the US Government as a customer may well choose the speed of decision-making - and many other benefits that AI can potentially bring to warfighting - to a more careful and balanced approach. 

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-bright-lights-373543/

EU AI Act

2021 has been marked by a race towards gaining normative authority in the field of Artificial Intelligence-enabled services. The European Union has been leading this chase by engaging in an omni comprehensive risk-oriented approach to AI regulation, providing for a broad regulatory framework to ensure securitization and protection of fundamental rights.

The Commission has indeed proposed a model founded on a decreasing scale of risk-based obligations to which providers will have to adhere to be able to continue conducting their business in the European Union, irrespective of their place of establishment[1]. Regarding the service providers which surpass the threshold of what the legislator has referred to as “high risk”, the AI Act imposes a ban upon them, and thus will not be allowed to distribute their services in the Union, as they are deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the livelihood and safety of the users of such service. Just a tire under the said forbidden services, the providers which have been labelled as “high risk” will have to comply with the most burdensome obligations. Notably, the proposed regulation will not have any impact on AI systems implemented for military purposes.

The high-risk providers are identified with critical infrastructures which deeply affect the users’ daily lives, and which could potentially implement discriminatory or harmful practices. The non-exhaustive list comprises providers that supply technologies applied for transportation or employment purposes, migration management, administration of justice and law enforcement processes[2]. Providers of such services will be asked to supply, among other requirements, adequate risk assessments, and a high level of robustness and security to make sure that “AI systems are resilient against attempts to alter their use, behaviour, performance or compromise their security properties by malicious third parties exploiting the system’s vulnerabilities”[3], and detailed documentation providing all information necessary on the system and its purpose for authorities to assess its compliance[4]. Although the Parliament has included all biometric identification systems as high risk, Italy, Hungary and France have been pushing to implement a more lenient regime for the employment of biometric identification instruments for surveillance purposes. The result of this debate is to be seen at the moment of ratification of the Act.

Despite the praiseworthy effort of the European legislator in setting up standards which prioritize fundamental rights and security for its citizens, endorsed also by the setup of clear enforcement measures and fines directed to the misbehaving providers; it is pivotal to highlight some challenges that regulating AI will pose on future legislative attempts.

Firstly, the main area of concern regards the tug of war between maintaining a firm hold over high-risk service providers and, on the other hand, ensuring the smooth progress of AI innovation in the EU. We will likely be witnessing a certain degree of lobbying practices from what arguably represent the top-tier AI companies based in the US (mainly, META, OpenAI, Google, Deepmind etc.); hence watering down the original scope of the Act. This concern rapidly escalated to a concrete debate over the regulation of foundation models. “The foundation models, such as GPT-3.5 - the large language model that powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT-, are trained on vast amounts of data and are able to carry out a wide range of tasks in a number of use cases. They are some of the most powerful, valuable and potentially risky AI systems in existence”[5]. While the proposed Act was keen on firmly regulating foundation models, a trialogue was initiated between the German, Italian and French governments to loosen the grip over these providers by proposing a self-regulation system, and strongly criticising Brussels for over-regulating service providers’ conduct and hindering innovation in the Union[6]. The leaders of said countries also expressed deep concern about the possibility that smaller European-based companies will not be able to keep up with the obligations raised by the Act[7]. While the Parliament maintains a firm formal position over the impossibility of excluding the foundation models, it is apparent that this opposition could furthermore potentially trigger the stalemate of the legislative iter.

A second criticality was identified by the exclusion from the scope of the Act of AI instruments applied for military, national security and national defence purposes. Civil society organizations have indeed expressed major concern towards the possibility that technologies which would be theoretically labelled as posing an unacceptable risk could be implemented if they fall under the umbrella of the scope of defending national security, but, additionally, that dual-use technology could be employed without any regulatory restriction[8]

Finally, the Act faces issues regarding its coordination with the US Order. Albeit both legislative instruments are based on a risk-based approach, the Senate has been more hesitant to espouse the European hard line. As Alex Engler - associate in governance studies at The Brookings Institution- wrote for Stanford University: “There’s a growing disparity between the U.S. and the EU approach in regulating AI. The EU has moved forward on laws around data privacy, online platforms, and online e-commerce regulation, and more, while similar legislation is absent in the U.S”[9]. Furthermore, the US Order struggles to draw clear-cut enforcement measures against companies which happen to be in breach of their obligations, therefore it is clear that the priority of the American legislator lies mostly in maintaining international competitiveness[10]. Needless to say, the lack of homogeneous standards hinders physical and legal persons, the latter being obliged to change their operativity depending on the country of distribution of services. 

Despite the said shortcomings, the Act will hopefully be the Kickstarter of a broader strategy able to compensate for the strict approach adopted in the regulation, thus attracting investments and levelling the competition with the US.


[1] https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/a-comparative-perspective-on-ai-regulation

[2] https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/regulatory-framework-ai

[3] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52021PC0206

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://time.com/6338602/eu-ai-regulation-foundation-models/

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] https://www.stopkillerrobots.org/news/what-are-the-ai-act-and-the-council-of-europe-convention/

[9] https://hai.stanford.edu/news/analyzing-european-union-ai-act-what-works-what-needs-improvement

[10] https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/news-events/the-eu-and-the-us-two-different-approaches-to-ai-governance/


[1] https://cset.georgetown.edu/article/in-out-of-china-financial-support-for-ai-development/

[2] https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/european-approach-artificial-intelligence

[3] https://twitter.com/ylecun/status/1662375684612685825?lang=en

[4] https://www.nist.gov/itl/ai-risk-management-framework

[5] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-it-comes-to-ai-models-bigger-isnt-always-better/

[6] https://ai.meta.com/llama/

[7] https://hackernoon.com/the-next-era-of-ai-inside-the-breakthrough-gpt-4-model

[8] https://media.defense.gov/2023/Nov/02/2003333300/-1/-1/1/DOD_DATA_ANALYTICS_AI_ADOPTION_STRATEGY.PDF

October 28, 2023No Comments

From Knowing to the Impossibility of Not Knowing’ – Imposing International Criminal Responsibility on Human Combatants for War Crimes Committed by Autonomous Weapons

Author: Vendela Laukkanen - AI, Cyber Security & Space Team

Introduction

The United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on States ‘to take decisive action now to protect humanity’, referring to the threat posed by autonomous weaponssystems (AWS).1 The joint call further referred to the restrictions on certain weapons under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and elucidated the accountability of States and individuals for any violations, since impunity threatens peace and security.2 This post will focus on the latter: the principal criminal responsibility of individuals when the acts of an AWS result in war crimes. The discussion will be twofold: the ethical concern of who will bear responsibility in such a scenario, followed by the legal dilemma of an ‘accountability gap’3 in front of the International Criminal Court(ICC). The definition of AI weapons for the purpose of this discussion is:

‘Any weapon system with autonomy in its critical functions—that is, a weapon system that can select… and attack… targets without human intervention’.4

Ethical Dilemma

To maintain peace and security, responsibility for the most egregious breaches of IHL is crucial, the bearers of such has thus far been human combatants.5 The purpose of criminal responsibility is firstly to ‘deter future violations’6, and secondly, to ensure justice for victims. In the case of AWS, the question is where such responsibility ought to be placed to satisfy both factors of criminal responsibility (deterrence and justice): the manufacturer that produced the machine; the combatant deploying the weapon; or the AWS itself?

Proponents of AWS argue that a machine will be better equipped than a human to distinguish between military targetsand civilian persons/objects7, it could thus be presumed that if the AWS strikes indiscriminately it is due to a malfunctioning of the system and the manufacturer ought to be responsible. However, as Sparrow claims, if the risk of mistargeting has been acknowledged to the person deploying the weapon, or, if the weapon has sufficient autonomy to act outside of the initial programming, to hold the manufacturer accountable ‘would be analogous to holding parents responsible for the actions of their children once they have left their care’.8 The second scenario - holding the combatant that deployed the weapon responsible is neither unproblematic, as Sparrow points out, the distinguishing factor of AWS to other weapons is its ability to choose its targets independently of human control, thus imposing responsibility on the combatant would be unfair.9 However, the human deploying the weapon ought to be aware of its autonomous nature -that the machine can be involved in mistargeting is therefore a foreseeable risk, leading to the argument that the combatant accepts that risk when deciding to deploy the AWS. The final scenario is to impose responsibility on the weapon itself. It must therefore be possible to punish the machine and, as Sparrow claims, make it suffer - the purpose of punishment.10 Whether a machine is able to suffer and feel remorse in a way consistent with the human idea of ‘justice has been done’, refrain from repeating the behaviour and to deter other machines from committing war crimes, is highly questionable.

Legal Dilemma

The ICC’s mission - to fight impunity for the most serious crimes, risks being undermined if AWS are deployed with little to no chance (or risk) of criminal responsibility, such ‘accountability gap’ therefore threatens to increase war crimes and destabilise the laws of war.11 If we are to retain morality in war - the most plausible solution is to hold the combatant deploying the AWS responsible for grave IHL breaches, as with any other weapon. Criminal Law requires proof of mens rea (‘guilty mind’) and actus reus (‘guilty act’). The Rome Statute of the ICC requires intention and knowledge as the default mens rea12 and the war crime of ‘intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population…’13 relates to the IHL rule of distinction. A combatant who intentionally and knowingly deploys an AWS incapable of functioning lawfully would be clear-cut under the ICC regime, - but the combatant deploying the AWS with the lack of knowledge and intention (acts with dolus eventualis) to attack civilian targets bestrides the accountability gap.14 However, a probative practice that allows a mental element to be inferred from conduct and circumstances with no reasonable alternative exposition15 may provide a solution. Indeed, ICC case law appears to suggest that intent:

‘...may be inferred from various factors establishing that civilians… were the object of the attack…16; and:

‘...lack of discrimination or precaution in attack may constitute an attack against civilian targets…17

Source: https://www.itssverona.it/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/5a2e5ec681cb80d9c17f3e8af8e252f1-1-e1700696117407.webp

This is also evident in the case law of other international tribunals18. As stated by the Court itself ‘…it must beestablished that in the circumstances… a reasonable person could not have believed that the individual or group… attacked was… directly participating in hostilities’19, thus shifting the mens rea analysis from the subjective state of mind of the combatant, to the objective standard of what the reasonable person must have known of the civilian status in the circumstances.20 The accountability gap is therefore mitigated by establishing that it was impossible for the combatant not to have known of the civilian status of the targets, and the combatant that still deploys the AWS must therefore have intended the attack, ‘from knowing to the impossibility of not knowing’21.

Conclusion

This post has attempted to briefly discuss the ethical; and legal dilemmas of AI used in warfare. Whilst no simple answers exist, it is clear that if autonomous weapons are to be used in times of armed conflict - humans with the moral capacity to suffer and feel remorse must be the bearers of responsibility for war crimes. The accountability gap may be mitigated by allowing a dolus eventualis mens rea standard at the ICC, which finds support in the case law. After all, the lack of possibility of holding humans criminally responsible for war crimes committed by AWS, calls into question whether the international community is ready to abandon the laws of war and the last 25 years of fighting impunity for the most serious crimes.


1 ICRC ‘Joint Call by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross for States toestablish new prohibitions and restrictions on Autonomous Weapons Systems’ (icrc.org, 05 October 2023) <https://www.icrc.org/en/document/joint-call-un-and-icrc-establish-prohibitions-and-restrictions-autonomous-weapons-system s> accessed 12October 2023.

2 ibid.

3 Davison, N., ‘A legal perspective: Autonomous weapon systems under international humanitarian law’ (2017) No. 30 UNODA OccasionalPapers 16.

4 ibid 5.

5 See also: Davison, N., ‘A legal perspective: Autonomous weapon systems under international humanitarian law’ (2017) No. 30 UNODAOccasional Papers 19.

6 ICRC ‘Joint Call by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross for States to establishnew prohibitions and restrictions on Autonomous Weapons Systems’ (icrc.org, 05 October 2023) <https://www.icrc.org/en/document/joint-call-un-and-icrc-establish-prohibitions-and-restrictions-autonomous-weapons-system s> accessed 12October 2023.

7 Dawes, J., ‘The case for and against autonomous weapon systems’ (2017) 1(9) Nature Human Behaviour 613.

8 Sparrow, R., ‘Killer Robots’ (2007) 24(1) Journal of Applied Philosophy 70.

9 ibid 71.

10 ibid 72.

11 See also: Dawes, J., ‘The case for and against autonomous weapon systems’ (2017) 1(9) Nature Human Behaviour 614.

12 Rome Statute Art. 30.

13 Rome Statute Arts. 8(2)(b)(i), 8(2)(b)(ii) and 8(2)(e)(i).

14 See also: Davison, N., ‘A legal perspective: Autonomous weapon systems under international humanitarian law’ (2017) No. 30 UNODA Occasional Papers 16; Abhimanyu, G., ‘Autonomous cyber capabilities and individual criminal responsibility for war crimes’ (2021) AutonomousCyber Capabilities Under International Law 8.

15 See also: Abhimanyu, G., ‘Autonomous cyber capabilities and individual criminal responsibility for war crimes’ (2021) Autonomous CyberCapabilities Under International Law 10.

16 Katanga trial judgment (n 35) para 807.

17 Ntaganda trial judgment (n 35) para 921.

18 Prosecutor v Dragomir Milošević (TC) [2007] International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia IT98-29/1-T [948]. See also, Prosecutor v Stanislav Galić (AC) [2006] International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia IT-98-29-A [132]; Prosecutor v Tihomir Blaškić (TC) [2000] International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia IT-95-14-T [501–12].

19 Ntaganda trial judgment (n 35) para 921.

20 Abhimanyu, G., ‘Autonomous cyber capabilities and individual criminal responsibility for war crimes’ (2021) Autonomous Cyber CapabilitiesUnder International Law 14.

21 Ibid 15.

February 20, 2023No Comments

Diletta Huyskes interviewed on AI and Human Rights

Diletta Huyskes, Head of Advocacy in Privacy Network, talks about the latest developments regarding Artificial Intelligence. In particular, this episode deals with the challenges that AI poses to the protection of Human Rights and how this issue is tackled in the upcoming AI Act.

Interviewers: Ilaria Lorusso and Luca Mattei

November 21, 2022No Comments

Artificial Intelligence in the World of Art: A Human Rights Dilemma

Author: Maria Makurat.

Artificial Intelligence or “AI” is already being widely used for various purposes whether it be in analysing marketing trends, modern warfare or as of recently: reproducing artwork. Around 2021 and up till now, various articles have been released discussing the issue of AI being developed to reproduce an artist’s style and even recreate new artwork and therefore bringing up ethical issue of whether artists are in danger of losing their copyright claim on their own work. Whilst this issue is very new and one cannot say for sure where this development is going and whether one should be concerned in the first place. This article explains the recent debate and issues that are being addressed while drawing upon classical AI theory from warfare and highlighting possible suggestions.

Artificial intelligence not only in the military realm

“In April this year, the company announced DALL-E 2, which can generate photos, illustrations, and paintings that look like they were produced by human artists. This July OpenAI announced that DALL-E would be made available to anyone to use and said that images could be used for commercial purposes.”

An article by Wired “Algorithms Can Now Mimic Any Artist. Some Artists Hate It,” discusses how an AI called “DALL- E 2” can reproduce an artist’s style and make new photos, digital art and paintings. In theory anyone can use the programme to mimic another artist, or artists can sue it to make new art based on their old work. This of course brings many issues to light such as whether one can put a copyright on an art style (as is also discussed in the article), what exactly one wants to achieve with using AI to recreate more art and how this will be discussed in the future if indeed art work will be stolen. An earlier article by the Los Angeles Times from 2020 “Edison, Morse ... Watson? Artificial intelligence poses test of who’s an inventor,” already addressed this issue by discussing who is exactly the “inventor” when AI can develop for instance computer games and other inventions. It is true that a human being must develop the AI programme however, can that person also then be called the inventor if that said programme develops own ideas and perhaps own artwork? In relation to the general debate, one should consider “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” Article 27: “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”

Some recent debate centres not only around whether it is a question of the “ethics” in artificial intelligence but going one step back to understand the term “intelligence”. Joanna J Bryson writes: “Intelligence is the capacity to do the right thing at the right time. It is the ability to respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by context.”[i] Whilst the authors consider AI in relation to law, they do point out that: “Artificial intelligence only occurs by and with design. Thus, AI is only produced intentionally, for a purpose, by one or more member of the human society.”[ii]  Joanna further discusses that the word artificial means that something has been made by humans and therefore again brings up a key concept in AI of whether the human or the programme is responsible.[iii] When we consider this in relation to human rights issues and ethics, it may be true that AI in the world of art can be produced with a purpose by humans, but it remains the problematic issue of what the purpose is. We need the clear outline of why this AI programme has been made in the art world and for what purpose in order to then be able to answer further questions.

It has been pointed out that one should consider this development as nothing new since AI has been already used in the 1950s and 1960s to generate certain patterns and shapes. It is seen by many as a tool that helps the artists in these areas to work faster and be more precise however, it’s been debated that one should not be worried at all that the AI can replace humans since it lacks the human touch in the first place. This remains to be seen how far the AI can learn and adapt since it is programmed that way. If one should not be concerned by AI replacing human artists, then why is the debate happening in the first place? 

Credits: unsplash.com

The continues need for clearer definitions

It is not only a matter of the AI replicating art, but how we can define whether the system has crossed the line of copyright infringement: “(…) lawsuits claiming infringement are unlikely to succeed, because while a piece of art may be protected by copyright, an artistic style cannot.” This only shows again that one needs to quickly define more clearly what is an “artistic style”, “artwork” in relation to how AI would be even allowed to replicate the style.

One can draw a comparison to AI in warfare with debates concerning following themes: responsibility gap, moral offloading and taking humans out of the loop (discussed by scholars such as Horowitz, Asaro, Krischnan and Schwarz). Keith argues for example that psychological analyses show that we suffer from cognitive bias and that AI (in terms of military defence) will change our decision-making process.[iv]  If we use the example of drone warfare and the campaign “Stop Autonomous Weapons”, it depicts how drones can be used without directly sending humans into battle and shows the system getting out of hand and people distancing themselves from responsibility. Such type of warfare has an impact on the decision-making process, distancing the soldiers and strategists from the battle field. With of course taking into mind that using an AI in the art world does not involve possible casualties, one still can consider how we have a similar distancing from responsibility and moral offloading. It comes back to the recurring issues of who is responsible if an AI system decides by itself which choices to make, how to make them and determine the output. There are no humans involved during the process of making or “replicating” the art pieces however, there was an individual present during the development of the AI – I would like to call it a problematic ethical circle of debate in the art world.

Even though the idea of using AI to copy an art style or artworks altogether is quite new and perhaps even undeveloped, one should consider more strongly certain methods in order to bring a certain control and a managing system into the game. Nick Bostrom for instance discusses what a superintelligence in relation to AI would entail saying that one would need certain incentive methods in order for the AI to learn and adapt to the human society: “Capability control through social integration and balance of power relies upon diffuse social forces rewarding and penalizing the AI. (…) A better alternative might be to combine the incentive method with the use of motivation selection to give the AI a final goal that makes it easier to control.”[v]

Conclusion

It is not only problematic for the art world that an AI is able to copy any artist’s style -it is concerning how much further this development could go in terms of taking an artist’s style and creating an entire new series and diluting therefore the line between where the old and fictional artist lies. As has also already pointed out by others then need for better definitions however it needs to be stressed more strongly: one needs clearer definitions of who is an “artist”, “inventor”, “digital artist” when AI enters the discussion and is apparently here to stay. One needs to make a clear distinction between a human artist and a ‘programme artist (AI)’. Can an artist call himself artist when he or she uses AI to produce art?  All these questions should be discussed further in the near future since it seems to be the case that AI has entered the art realm and will continue to stay playing maybe a larger role in the future perhaps even with the development of the Meta verse.


[i] Markus Dirk Dubber, Frank Pasquale, Sunit Das, (2020) The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of AI Oxford handbooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 4

[ii] Ibid, pp. 6.

[iii] Ibid, pp. 5

[iv] Keith, Dear, “Artificial intelligence and decision making,” pp. 18.

[v] Bostrom, Nick, “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies,” pp. 132.

November 30, 2021No Comments

How Different Political Powers Approach the Issue of Ethics in the Development of Artificial Intelligence

By: Zrinka Borić

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-reaching-out-to-a-robot-8386434/

Advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is expected to drive progress and change in the areas of military, economy, and information. This so-called “fourth industrial revolution” opens various possibilities, among which the most probable one is further development and prosperity of those who will be able to reap the benefits, resulting in further strengthening existing inequalities in the global state system. 

The main concern an average person has regarding the AI is the idea of the post-apocalyptical world in which the robots and AI have completely overtaken the Earth, as depicted in many famous science-fiction publications. To approach this topic it is necessary to have two things in mind. First, the developement of the strong AI (also called Artificial General Intelligence – AGI) systems that will focus on the simulation of human reasoning and creation of machine intelligence equal to the human currently does not exist, and the experts cannot agree on the expected occurrence of this type of AI. Second, artificial intelligence systems rely heavily on data. Therefore, the quantity, quality and availability of data are crucial. In the longterm, the ethical and responsible approach to data collection for AI development and implementation aims to guarantee a balanced and responsible innovation. 

For example, the United States and the European Union countries have expressed dedication in developing trustworthy and ethical AI. At the other hand, countries like China and Russia have not shown such dedication in the development and employment of their autonomous weapons systems. Cyber policy and security expert Herbert Lin expresses the concern how due to lower level of regard towards the ethical and safety issues there is a likely opportunity that their weapons are going to be more militarily effective and developed sooner. 

Different forms of government have different approaches towards AI development and implementation. China is characterized as authoritarian and hierarchical state, the United States is a federal republic with a democratically run government, while the European Union is described as a political and economic union with that operates through combination of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making approach.

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

China defines artificial intelligence research and development as key to boosting national economic and manufacturing competitiveness as well as providing national security. China’s vigorous approach towards the AI development is caused by the potential economic benefit in the future. The experts assume that China will benefit from the highest relative economic gain from AI technologies, since the AI technology is envisioned to improve its productivity and manufacturing possibility and therefore to meet future GDP targets. Therefore, China faces the risk of AI development and application without giving enough attention to a responsible use of AI and preparing its citizen to adapt to possible changes affected by widespread AI adoption. China has already once fallen in the trap of recklessly rushing into uncontrolled progress, and it led to an unsustainable level of growth accompanied by a set of negative effects on China’s economy growth. China’s clear competitive advantage lies in its abundance of data which will most likely become one of the crucial elements in the future development of AI technology, relatively loose privacy laws, vibrant start-ups, and a stable rise in the number of AI engineers.

THE EUROPEAN UNION

The state structure shapes the design of the AI policy and its implementation. When discussing the EU it is important to keep in mind that the EU is not a country, but an economic and political supranational and intergovernmental organization. Considering the fact that economic prosperity and national security of the European Union are still firmly in the hands of the national governments it can easily be understood why the organizational structure of the Union hinders the process of making concrete and quick decisions which are always favorable in the conditions of the international competition. The EU has succeeded to publish joint plans and policies regarding AI, such as Civil Law Rules on Robotics, Declaration for Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence, Ethic Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, and Policy and Investment Recommendations for Trustworthy AI.

The European Union pays special attention to the study of the potential impact of artificial intelligence technology on the society. The researches usually involve social aspect such as data protection (e.g. GDPR law), network security and AI ethics. There are more substantial ethical or normative discussions when it comes to developing human-centered and trustworthy AI technologies. [...] Developing the culture of trustworthy AI and not only when it comes to security and defense, but more broadly about AI enabled technologies. This is at the forefront of the policy and political thinking in Brussels.“ claims Raluca Csernatoni, an expert on European security and defense with a specific focus on distruptive techologies.

In 2018 member states signed the Declaration on Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence where the participating member states agreed to cooperate in various fields regarding AI development and implementation, including ensuring an adequate legal and ethical framework, building on EU fundamental rights and values.

THE UNITED STATES

During the Obama administration National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Technology drafted the report Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence in 2016. Concerns about safeguarding “justice, fairness, and accountability” if AI was to be tasked with consequential decisions about people had previously been mentioned in Administration’s Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values  report and Big Data and Privacy: A Technological Perspective report. Regarding the governance and safety, the report advises that use of AI technology must be controlled by “technical and ethical supervision”.

Later, during the Trump Administration the 2019 AI R&D Strategic Plan expressed seven main fields of interest, one of which is understanding ethical, legal, and societal applications of AI. According to the recent EU-US Trade and Technology Council TTC it is clear that the current administration continues supporting the efforts for the development of responsible and trustworthy AI. 

THE U.S. – EU COOPERATION 

The most recent U.S.- EU cooperation on the AI advancement, the TTC, was launched on September 29, 2021 in Pittsburgh. TTC working groups are cooperating on discussing the issues of technology standards, data governance and technology platforms, misuse of technology threatening security and human rights, and many others. The United States and European Union affirmed their commitment to a human-centered approach and developing mutual understanding on principles of trustworthy and responsible AI. However, both have expressed significants concerns that authoritarian governments are piloting social scoring systems with an aim to implement social control at scale. They agree that these systems „pose threats to fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, including through silencing speech, punishing peaceful assembly and other expressive activities, and reinforcing arbitrary or unlawful surveillance systems“. 

CONCLUSION

Different forms of governments differ immensly in their approach towards the development and implementation of AI, as well as when it comes to the necessary principles of ethics and responsibility. However, governments need to take further actions with great cautions. When implemented carelessly, without taking ethics and safety in consideration, AI could end up being ineffective, or even worse, dangerous. Governments need to implement AI in a way that builds trust and legitimacy, which ideally requires legal and ethical frameworks to be in place for handling and protecting citizens’ data and algorithm use. 

November 2, 2021No Comments

The United States’ Race for Supremacy in Artificial Intelligence

By: Zrinka Boric

“Where we choose to invest speaks to what we value as a Nation. This year’s Budget, the first of my Presidency, is a statement of values that define our Nation at its best.” - Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (The Budget Message of the President)

This article navigates the landscape of AI policymaking and tracks efforts of the United States to promote and govern AI technologies. 

Technological advancement has become a new approach to increase a state’s political, military, and economic strength. The Cold War and the arms race between the two then strongest nations in the world, the United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR), revealed the potential that lay in the development of technology. Today, the United States is again at the forefront in the race for supremacy in the potentially world-changing technology: artificial intelligence (AI). 

Artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally change strategy, organization, priorities, and resources of any national community that manages to develop AI technology, lead to further innovation, and eventually apply it. Artificial intelligence is going through major evolution and development, and its potential is increasing at a speed rate. Progress is visibly accelerating, and our social, political, and economic systems will be affected greatly. One of the important questions is how to define and approach all the opportunities AI technology can offer while avoiding or managing risks. 

The American AI Initiative

The United States is characterized by a skilled workforce, innovative private sector, good data availability, and effective governance which are all key factors for the government’s ability to enable effective development and adoption of AI. 

The United States published its national AI strategy, the American AI Initiative, in 2019.The responsible organization is the White House, and its priority is to increase the federal government investment in AI’s Research and Development (R&D), and to ensure technical standards for safe AI technology development and deployment. American AI Initiative expresses a commitment to collaborate with foreign partners while promoting U.S leadership in AI. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the American AI Initiative is not particularly comprehensive, especially when compared to other leading nations, and is characterized by the lack of both funding and palpable policy objectives.

In 2019, the U.S. policymakers were advised to advance the American AI Initiative with concrete goals and clear policies aimed at advancing AI – such as spurring public sector AI adoption and allocating new funding for AI R&D, rather than simply repurposing existing funds.

AI in the USA Budget for FY2022 

President Biden's budget for FY2022 includes approximately $171.3 billion for research and development (R&D), which is an 8.5% ($13.5 billion) increase compared to the FY2021 estimated level of $157.8 billion. 

According to the 2021 AI Index Report, in FY 2020 the USA federal departments and agencies spent a combined $1.8 billion on unclassified AI-related contracts. This represents an increase of more than 25% from the amount spent in FY 2019. 

One of the agencies with the major R&D program is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). President Biden is requesting $1,497.2 million for NIST in FY2022, an increase of $462.7 million (44.7%) from the FY2021 $1,034.5 million. The second-highest program budget increase in NIST is for Partnerships, Research, and Standards to Advance Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence, $45.4 million (an increase of $15 million compared to FY2021). 

Some departments are expecting large percentage increases in R&D funding, among which the Department of Commerce, with an increase of up to 29.3%. At the same time, it is interesting to note that one of DOC’s latest projects is the creation of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisory Committee (NAIAC), which will be discussed below.

Numerous policymakers in Congress are particularly interested in the Department of Defense Science and Technology (DOD S&T) program funding. The increasingly popular belief in the defense community finds ensuring support for S&T activities as necessary to maintain USA’s military superiority in the world.

The budget request represents President Biden’s R&D priorities, and the Congress may agree with it partially, completely, or not agree at all. It is safe to say that AI has gained the attention of the Congress, considering the 116th Congress (January 3, 2019 - January 3, 2021) is the most AI-focused congressional session in history with the number of times AI was mentioned being more than three times higher compared to 115th Congress (115th - 149, 116th - 486).

National and International Efforts

As indicated in its national AI strategy, the United States takes part in various intergovernmental AI initiatives, such asGlobal Partnership on AI (GPAI), OECD Network of Experts on AI (ONE AI)Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHED) for the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and has participated in global summits and meetings, such as AI Partnership for Defense, and AI for Good Global Summit. In addition, the United States announced a declaration of the bilateral agreement on AI with the United Kingdom in December 2020. 

On September 8, 2021, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced the establishment of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisory Committee (NAIAC). The main purpose of the NAIAC will be to advise the President and the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) on issues related to AI. “AI presents an enormous opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our time, strengthen our technological competitiveness, and be an engine for growth in nearly every sector of the economy. But we must be thoughtful, creative, and wise in how we address the challenges that accompany these new technologies,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

The United States or China? 

The United States is showing an increasing interest in developing and implementing artificial intelligence through the increase in federal AI-related budget, establishment of new committees, intergovernmental AI initiatives, bilateral agreements, and participating in global summits but the constant comparison is being made between USA and China. Should the future battle over artificial intelligence be between USA and China, the question arises: Who will win this battle for AI supremacy?

Recently, a former Pentagon expert said that the race is already over, and China has won. The Pentagon’s first chief software officer resigned over the slow pace of technological advances in the U.S. military. He claims the USA has no competing fighting chance against China in the upcoming years and that it's already a done deal.

At the same time, an expert in artificial intelligence Kai-Fu Lee, former President of Google China, disagrees with this claim. He notes that the US has a clear academic lead in artificial intelligence, supports his claim by noting that all 16 Turing award recipients in AI are American or Canadian, and the top 1% of papers published are still predominantly American. China is simply faster in commercializing technologies and has more data. 

Artificial intelligence already has numerous uses (academic, military, medical, etc.) and when assessing countries' AI technology reach it is important to separate different uses of technology. 

To answer the question on whether the United States or China will win AI 'race' or whether a new force will emerge, it is necessary to closely monitor artificial intelligence technology development and compare different countries using a uniform set of criteria before reaching a conclusion. Another potential scenario, as highlighted by Kai-Fu Lee in his book AI 2014: Ten Visions of Our Future, states the possibility of United States and China co-leading the world in technology.

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October 5, 2021No Comments

The Disruptive Power of AI applied to Drones

Tate Nurkin talks about the intricacies of AI technologies applied to the military domain and gives us an overview of the AI-powered military programs, what it means for the future of warfare and touches on ethical issues. 

Tate Nurkin is the founder of OTH Intelligence Group and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Interviewer: Arnaud Sobrero

This is ITSS Verona Member Series Video Podcast by the Cyber, AI and Space Team.

ITSS Verona - The International Team for the Study of Security Verona is a not-for-profit, apolitical, international cultural association dedicated to the study of international security, ranging from terrorism to climate change, from artificial intelligence to pandemics, from great power competition to energy security.