Efforts to Rein In AI Tap Lesson From Social Media: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late | Kanebridge News
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Efforts to Rein In AI Tap Lesson From Social Media: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Activists and officials race to shape rules and public understanding of new artificial intelligence tools

By DEEPA SEETHARAMAN
Tue, Jul 18, 2023 8:38amGrey Clock 4 min

Social media was more than a decade old before efforts to curb its ill effects began in earnest. With artificial intelligence, lawmakers, activists and executives aren’t waiting that long.

Over the past several months, award-winning scientists, White House officials and tech CEOs have called for guardrails around generative AI tools such as ChatGPT—the chatbot launched last year by Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI. Among those at the table are many veterans of the continuing battle to make social media safer.

Those advocates view the AI debate as a fresh chance to influence how companies make and market their products and to shape public expectations of the technology. They aim to move faster to shape the AI landscape and learn from errors in the fight over social media.

“We missed the window on social media,” said Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a child internet-safety organisation that has for years criticised social-media platforms over issues including privacy and harmful content. “It was late—very late—and the ground rules had already been set and industry just did whatever it wanted to do.”

Activists and executives alike are pushing out a range of projects and proposals to shape understanding and regulation to address issues including AI’s potential for manipulation, misinformation and bias.

Common Sense is developing an independent AI ratings and reviews system that will assess AI products such as ChatGPT on their handling of private data, suitability for children and other factors. The nonprofit plans to launch the system this fall and spend between $5 million and $10 million a year on top of its $25 million budget to fund the project.

Other internet advocacy groups including the Mozilla Foundation are also building their own open-source AI tools and investing in startups that say they are building responsible AI systems. Some firms initially focused on social media are now trying to sell services to AI companies to help their chatbots avoid churning out misinformation and other harmful content.

Tech companies are racing to influence regulation, discussing it with global governments that are both wary of AI and eager to capitalise on its opportunities. In early May, President Biden met with the chief executives of companies including OpenAI, Microsoft and Google at the White House. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has spent weeks meeting with lawmakers and other leaders globally to discuss AI’s risks and his company’s idea of safe regulation.

Altman and Microsoft President Brad Smith have both argued for a new regulatory agency that would license large AI systems. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who on Wednesday announced the official launch of his new AI startup, said in May that the government should convene an independent oversight committee, potentially including industry executives, to create rules that ensure AI is developed safely.

The Federal Trade Commission also is taking a hard look at AI. It is investigating whether OpenAI has “engaged in unfair or deceptive practices” stemming from false information published by ChatGPT, according to a civil subpoena made public this past week. Altman said OpenAI is confident that it follows the law and “of course we will work with the FTC.”

Looming large over all this activity is the growing feeling among many activists and lawmakers that years of efforts to regulate or otherwise change social-media companies including Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Twitter and TikTok were unsatisfactory. Facebook was founded in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, but widespread discussion about regulation didn’t really take off until after discoveries of Russian interference and other issues in the 2016 U.S. election.

“Congress failed to meet the moment on social media,” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said during a congressional hearing on AI in May. “Now we have the obligation to do it on AI before the threats and the risks become real.”

Though social-media executives in recent years called for more regulation, no new U.S. federal laws have been set that require companies to protect users’ privacy and data or that update the nearly three-decade-old rules for how platforms police content. In part that is because of disagreements among lawmakers over whether companies should do more to moderate what is said on their platforms or whether they already have overstepped into stifling free speech.

Some of the activists who are veterans of those battles say two major lessons from this era are that the companies can’t be trusted to self-regulate and that the federal government is too gridlocked to pass meaningful legislation. “There’s a massive void,” Steyer of Common Sense Media said.

Yet he and others say they are encouraged by the willingness of AI companies to discuss major issues.

“We’re seeing some of the people from trust and safety teams from social media are now at AI companies,” said L. Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of NewsGuard, a company that tracks and rates news sites. Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, says these people seem much more empowered in their current roles. “The body language is ‘we’ve been freed.’”

Large language models such as GPT-4 are trained on anything that can be scraped from the internet, but the data contain large chunks of hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content. So these models are further refined after their initial training to weed out some of that bad content in a process called fine-tuning.

NewsGuard has been talking to AI companies about licensing its data—which Crovitz calls a “catalog of all the important false narratives that are out there”—for fine-tuning and to bolster AI models’ guardrails against producing just those types of misinformation and false narratives.

Ravi Iyer, a former product manager for Meta, is now at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and developing a poll that tracks how people experience AI systems. He hopes the poll will influence how AI companies design and deploy their products.

“We need to know that’s a choice platforms can make and reward them for not making the wrong choices,” Iyer said.

The Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit that builds the Firefox internet browser, said it is building open-sourced models as alternatives to large private AI models. “We need to build alternatives and not just advocate for them,” Mark Surman, Mozilla’s president, said.

Steyer described the AI ratings system being built at Common Sense as the most ambitious in the nonprofit’s history. Tracy Pizzo Frey, a consultant who previously worked for Google and is helping craft the system, said there is no set way to evaluate the safety of AI tools.

So far, Common Sense is looking at seven factors, including how transparent companies are about what their systems can do and where they still have shortcomings. The nonprofit may factor in how much information companies provide about their training data, which companies including OpenAI view as competitive secrets.

Frey said Common Sense won’t ask for proprietary data but needs information that helps parents and educators make informed decisions about the use of AI. “There are no rules around what transparency looks like,” Frey said.



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AACCI’s Strategic Vision for Enhancing Australia-Arab Trade Relations

The Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is fostering robust trade relations between Australia and Arab countries.

Mon, May 20, 2024 5 min

In an era where global trade and international relationships are more crucial than ever, the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) serves as a bridge, for cooperation and growth between Australia and the Arab nations. Led by its Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Hage, the AACCI has taken on projects aimed at strengthening relationships and fostering development across borders.

This exclusive interview explores the initiatives implemented by the AACCI to expand its presence and influence in the region including the significant establishment of a new operational hub in Dubai. We also delve into how the Chamber embraces education through training and research, its participation in major international exhibitions, and its active support for both large corporations and small businesses.

Looking towards tomorrow, Mr. Mohamed shares his vision for broadening AACCI’s reach emphasizing the importance of the on-ground operations and cultural understanding in building business connections.

-Could you elaborate on the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry, including its objectives and main areas of focus?

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) plays a fundamental role, in promoting business partnerships and trade between Australia and the 22 Arab countries. As a member of the Union of Arab Chambers affiliated with the Arab League, AACCI focuses on strengthening trade and investment ties, across these countries.

To nurture these connections effectively AACCI has outlined four objectives: facilitating trade and investment activities, certifying documents, educating stakeholders, and offering marketing assistance.

Our initiatives are designed not only to empower trade and investment endeavors but to also ensure engagement with specific sectors that drive these activities. With an understanding of the characteristics, strengths and preferences of each country, AACCI prides itself on its specialized knowledge customized to suit the distinct business environments of these nations.

– As the AACCI approaches its 50th anniversary, what have been some of the key milestones and achievements?

I believe one of AACCI’s accomplishments is the opportunities it has opened up for numerous Australian companies to access markets, in the region. Moreover, the strong bilateral trade relationship that has developed between Australia and the 22 Arab nations over the five decades has led to trade transactions amounting to billions of dollars.

This extensive trade covers industries such as food and beverages, luxury hotels and many more services. Each successive generation, within AACCI has built upon the foundation laid by its predecessors enriching their knowledge base and expanding their range of services.

– How does the AACCI leverage its diverse leadership team to enhance trade and investment opportunities between Australia and the Arab region?

Since taking on the role of chairman, my main focus has been on expanding our presence in the region. This led to the idea of opening an office in Dubai, which symbolizes our dedication to deepening our engagement in that area. We have successfully secured the license to open our first office in Dubai after 50 years, which will serve as a gateway to the GCC and North Africa.

I strongly believe that building two-way trade and investment ties requires more than a degree of business connectivity; it demands having local representatives present in each region. With trends emphasizing strategies the value of face-to-face engagements cannot be overstated.

Setting up offices in the region is essential for the Chamber to truly serve as a link and support system for business activities. Ultimately this expansion will bring benefits to our members and partners by providing them with access, to dynamic markets and diverse prospects.

– Can you discuss the significance of AACCI’s role in cultural and business exchanges between the two regions?

The importance of understanding cultures in our operations cannot be overstated. To address this, we have included a training platform within the Chamber to strengthen our cultural awareness initiatives. This new program offers our members access to modules on our website focusing on global business practices.

Furthermore, we have set up a Center of Excellence specifically dedicated to researching areas like food security and cultural awareness. These research endeavors are essential for promoting knowledge between the two regions.

By combining the resources of the Center of Excellence, our training resources, and the forthcoming local office in Dubai, we’re providing cultural awareness not only in the region but also in Australia. This approach ensures that our members are well equipped and knowledgeable boosting their effectiveness and involvement, in markets.

– What is the objective of your on-ground presence at conferences and events?

Participating in conferences and on ground events is very important for increasing awareness in industries like construction where knowledge of opportunities in the Arab world may not be widespread. When we see projects such as NEOM or notice the construction boom happening in the region it becomes important for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to highlight these prospects. By taking part in large scale expos such as the Sydney Build Expo we position ourselves at the forefront of these advancements.

Our presence at these events enables interaction giving entrepreneurs a chance to visit our booth engage in discussions and learn more about the region in an approachable and personalized manner. This plays a role in simplifying the process and making opportunities concrete.

– With such a diverse membership base, how does AACCI tailor its services to meet the needs of both large corporations and small startups?

When it comes to discussing business it’s important to grasp how influence and vision come into play. Businesses looking to expand are often motivated by a desire to achieve something whether they are big companies or small enterprises. Small businesses typically aim to raise their brands profile while larger corporations seek recognition and market dominance.

Standing out in this area can be tough mainly because the key driving force is the passion to showcase the brand and products on a platform. This determination serves as a motivator for entrepreneurs.

At the Chamber we make a point of recognizing the needs of both big and small players by understanding each members individual situation. We ensure that every member is well informed about the opportunities and risks that come with expanding. For small businesses, this means being aware of the financial demands, while large businesses are advised on the necessity of both financial and emotional resilience.

– How does AACCI plan to expand or evolve its services in the coming years to further support its members?

The importance of having resources on the ground cannot be emphasized enough. Having local staff is key to establishing connections with the communities we serve. Without a presence in the area staying updated on events and activities becomes quite challenging.

This is why, as I’ve mentioned before, we have established an office in Dubai, staffed with personnel dedicated to supporting our members. This local office will help us effectively bridge the gap between Australia and the Arab world. And our members will benefit from insights and assistance from someone who truly knows the landscape.

In Australia we have equipped offices throughout the country staffed by individuals who play a significant role in our operations. This strong domestic network complements our efforts ensuring that we provide support to our members both locally and globally. This strategic approach is crucial, for nurturing business relationships and fostering continental understanding.

 

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