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AI in the Common Interest

Public policies and institutions should be designed to ensure that innovations are improving the world; but as matters stand, many technologies are being deployed in a vacuum, with advances in artificial intelligence raising one red flag after another. The era of light-touch self-regulation must end.

LONDON – The tech world has generated a fresh abundance of front-page news in 2022. In October, Elon Musk bought Twitter – one of the main public communication platforms used by journalists, academics, businesses, and policymakers – and proceeded to fire most of its content-moderation staff, indicating that the company would rely instead on artificial intelligence.

Then, in November, a group of Meta employees revealed that they had devised an AI program capable of beating most humans in the strategy game Diplomacy. In Shenzhen, China, officials are using “digital twins” of thousands of 5G-connected mobile devices to monitor and manage flows of people, traffic, and energy consumption in real time. And with the latest iteration of ChatGPT’s language-prediction model, many are declaring the end of the college essay.

In short, it was a year in which already serious concerns about how technologies are being designed and used deepened into even more urgent misgivings. Who is in charge here? Who should be in charge? Public policies and institutions should be designed to ensure that innovations are improving the world, yet many technologies are currently being deployed in a vacuum. We need inclusive mission-oriented governance structures that are centered around a true common good. Capable governments can shape this technological revolution to serve the public interest.

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