Artificial Intelligence is rapidly advancing. For quite some time, machines have been superior to humans at analyzing large volumes of data and extrapolating patterns. Today, machines are being trained to make autonomous judgements about the significance and relevance of those patterns.
This breakthrough in machine learning will lead to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Already, some 34% of businesses surveyed across the United States, Europe, and China have adopted AI. It is predicted that 45% of total economic gains by 2030 will come from product enhancements made possible by AI.
AI will greatly benefit humanity in many ways. A company called DeepMind AI has utilized Artificial Intelligence to predict the structures of the 20,000 proteins expressed by the human genome. Practically speaking, this could lead to cures for the deadliest illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Global supply chains will also experience unprecedented increases in efficiency.
But AI has a dark side. If not well regulated, privacy and security in all fathoms of life will erode. Criminals could train machines to create socially engineered victims at superhuman levels. Imagine an automated phone scam where indistinguishably sounding machines pretend to be the friend of the victim and ask for financial help. Disinformation campaigns could become targeted, and politicians could be made to say anything, digitally. Algorithmic decisions could widen the socio-economic gap by choosing those who have over those who don’t in education, housing, financing, and employment. A global AI arms raise is inevitable without effective regulation. Last year, NATO announced it was working on an AI strategy to stay competitive internationally and to use AI responsibility. Killer robots are a topic of discussion.
A global AI treaty is necessary to protect humanity from harm. Over 60 countries have adapted some form of AI policy since 2017. Given the immense complexity of AI, policies and regulations are likely to vary significantly from country to country. If every country has their own set of rules, it will be difficult for companies to abide by them all and could lead to significant confusion and even conflict. It is very important for nations to collaborate on a policy framework today before more AI applications become ubiquitous and asynchronous policies are developed.
Preventing incoherence is the best approach. As demonstrated by the E.U. and the U.S. inability to bring their non-tariff measures into alignment, retrospectively bringing conflicting policies into alignment is unrealistic. Strong AI policy and a treaty is necessary to save humans from killing each other with God-like machines.