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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

You Can't Regulate What You Don't Understand

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A futuristic robot shown to be working in a virtual, high-tech environment.

It is in the interests of the companies developing advanced AI to disclose the methods by which they control AI and the metrics they use to measure success.

Credit: Getty Images

Given the radical uncertainty about the progress and impact of artificial intelligence (AI), we are better served by mandating transparency and building institutions for enforcing accountability than we are in trying to head off every imagined particular harm. We should not wait to regulate these systems until they have run amok.

But nor should regulators overreact to AI alarmism in the press. Regulations should first focus on disclosure of current monitoring and best practices. In that way, companies, regulators, and guardians of the public interest can learn together how these systems work, how best they can be managed, and what the systemic risks really might be.

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