By generating hype and headlines through this spending power, relatively few companies like OpenAI and DeepMind have been able to seize the AI market. Not only does this mean they have been able to control the messaging around AI, but also disproportionately influence government’s approach to it – like at this year’s AI Safety Summit in the UK.
While some of these companies may present as institutions for the public good, like all business they ultimately have one goal – making money.
With AI taking a larger role in our society, whether that be in the NHS, our public sector, or in even in entertainment, having just a few companies control that technology is not a good thing. It threatens to make an AI future built for the very few. We need as many people as possible to be involved in design, development, and discussions around AI to make sure that everyone is involved in shaping the future, not just the people who stand to profit.
Why everyone is entitled to an opinion about AI
It’s easy to think that when we see a technology like AI that it’s too complicated to understand, and therefore we can’t have opinions on it. But that simply isn’t the case.
I may not know how to build a nuclear power station, but I’m still allowed to have an opinion on how it happens and how it affects my life. Similarly with AI, we should tell governments and companies how we want it to impact our day-to-day.
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves, but misinformation and clashing media narratives can be hard to navigate. Universities like King’s have an important part to play in talking to people and addressing their fears, as well as giving them a sense of optimism for the future.
Governments also need to play a more active role. Regulation of AI is key, but it’s also important to educate the population so they feel safe and confident about the future that’s been built around them.