Toward Trustworthy and Responsible Artificial Intelligence Policy Development

Policy and governance are paramount to ensuring emerging technologies like AI are utilized to their fullest potential to benefit humanity while mitigating inherent risks and addressing societal concerns.

Advances in sensing and software, combined with the availability of large datasets and streaming data, algorithmic advances in machine learning, and unprecedented levels of funding in both the public and private sectors, are fueling the exponential growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and related emerging technologies that have the potential to transform and positively impact society. An expected outcome of this transformation will be a notable shift in the interaction between humans and machines that will likely lead to symbiotic relationships with significant implications for the global society as a whole. As more industries adopt AI's fundamental technologies, the field continues to drive profound economic changes and quality-of-life improvements worldwide. As with any emerging technology, AI systems raise unique and complex legal, ethical, societal, and technological issues. In the public imagination, they sometimes evoke either dystopian scenes of hapless humans fighting for survival against hostile superintelligences or exaggerated utopian hopes for AI as a panacea for many of humanity's problems. Such extreme narratives can obscure the more nuanced questions regarding specific implications in diverse areas, such as social and economic justice, democracy and authoritarianism, and military competition. The perceived lack of transparency and accountability of AI technologies, combined with limited public technical understanding, compounds both of these extreme views.

While public perception, cultural responses, and resulting societal acceptance have enormous implications, policy decisions often play important roles in determining to what extent societies are able to achieve the potential benefits of the new technologies and avoid the associated risks. Policymaking is often reactive, i.e., responding to situations after they occur. But there are tremendous benefits when policymaking is proactive—whether through fostering a safe environment for rapid innovation or preventing possible setbacks down the line. Thoughtful, proactive policy can be used to build trust, transparency, and ethical principles into the technological ecosystem, guarding against negative social impacts, building international collaboration, and promoting beneficial innovation. Crafting such policy requires technical understanding and discernment, which requires bringing technological expertise into the policy-making process.

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