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AI Pioneer Yoshua Bengio Urges Urgency in AI Regulation as Canadian Bill Progress Lags

Yoshua Bengio, renowned AI innovator, expresses concern over the pace of AI regulation in Canada. As technological advancements outstrip legislative progress, he emphasizes the need for swift action to address the potential risks and benefits of powerful AI systems.

Yoshua Bengio, one of the leading figures in artificial intelligence and a driving force behind AI research, including the creation of AI chatbot ChatGPT, is raising concerns about the pace of AI regulation in Canada. In an interview, Bengio shared his disappointment with the progress of Bill C-27, the Digital Charter Implementation Act 2022, which includes provisions for regulating AI.

Bengio highlights the rapid advancement of AI technology, emphasizing that developments like ChatGPT have accelerated the AI race. With the release of new iterations featuring voice and image capabilities, AI is progressing faster than anticipated.

While powerful AI systems hold promise for transformative positive impacts, they also pose potential dangers. Bengio acknowledges the need for careful oversight to prevent misuse and ensure that AI systems are developed and deployed ethically.

Bengio, alongside fellow AI luminary Geoffrey Hinton, has consistently voiced concerns about AI's risks. They stress the dangers of bias, discrimination, job displacement, echo chambers, fake news, and even autonomous combat systems powered by AI.

Bengio and around 20 other AI experts have issued a joint document urging governments and companies to address AI's risks. They propose allocating one-third of AI research and development funding to ethical AI use and adopting safety measures to counteract AI capabilities.

The document advocates holding AI system creators and companies accountable for any harm caused by their technologies. This step is crucial as AI continues to surpass certain human abilities.

Bengio points out that governments and the public lack effective control over AI's development and use. The chaotic and uncontrolled race in AI necessitates swift regulatory action.

Bill C-27 has the potential to enforce AI documentation, establish a commissioner for independent audits, and promote AI compliance. The government's voluntary code, currently signed by several companies, aims to ensure responsible AI deployment.

Bengio emphasizes the need for a level playing field, where all companies adhere to ethical AI practices. He asserts that self-regulation, while effective, should become an entrenched practice for the benefit of all.

Yoshua Bengio's call for urgency in AI regulation serves as a reminder of the dynamic interplay between AI technology and responsible governance. As AI continues to evolve and shape our world, the need for swift and comprehensive regulatory measures becomes increasingly critical.