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Last Week in AI #49

The end of privacy, markets for regulation, the economics of AI today, and more!

Last Week in AI #49

Image credit: The New York Times

Mini Briefs

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

Clearview AI has been in the news lately for its controversial facial recognition service, which it sells to law enforcement agencies mostly in the U.S. Its product is popular among the police because 1) Clearview has amassed a database of more than 3 billion public images of people’s faces from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Venmo (this scraping violates those companies’ terms of use) and 2) it uses the latest advances from Deep Learning to perform the recognition, so the input image does not have to be taken perfectly head-on at eye level.

While Clearview has helped to identify many suspects and catch criminals, its effectiveness and scale is a growing concern. For one, the company keeps all the photos that law enforcement agencies upload, and for another there is evidence to suggest that it is keeping track of these queries. The potential for abuse is also alarming: “Imagine a rogue law enforcement officer who wants to stalk potential romantic partners, or a foreign government using this to dig up secrets about people to blackmail them or throw them in jail.” Clearview may also open the application to the public, and even if they don’t, another company might try. With such a tool:

Searching someone by face could become as easy as Googling a name. Strangers would be able to listen in on sensitive conversations, take photos of the participants and know personal secrets. Someone walking down the street would be immediately identifiable — and his or her home address would be only a few clicks away. It would herald the end of public anonymity.

Artificial Intelligence Needs Private Markets for Regulation - Here’s Why

To help government regulations catch up with the fast, evolving field of AI and to also avoid stifling innovation with too much control, Jack Clark and Gilian Hadfield from OpenAI propose the idea of “regulatory markets.” Essentially, to regulate AI applications in the private sector, government would issue licenses to third-party AI regulatory companies that actually perform the regulation, from checking in on AI companies to collecting fines.

One example of such a regulatory market is credit agencies, but to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the regulation service providers, the regulatory market must be kept competitive. The government must be ready to withdraw licenses and funding to disincentivize complacent behavior.

A regulatory market approach enables the dynamism needed for AI to flourish in a way consistent with safety and public trust. The speed of private innovation should not make governments reluctant to act. Instead, policy needs to get innovative too.

Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy


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