Politicians should not attempt to regulate the kinds of artificial intelligence (AI) that are portrayed in Hollywood movies like “Ex Machina,” according to the head of a technology-focused department at the European Commission.
Roberto Viola, director general of DG Connect, the European Commission department that regulates communications networks, content, and technology, put forward his views on AI regulation in a blog post on Thursday.
His remarks came after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a report calling for more regulation in the fields of robotics and AI. The report warned that there is a growing need for regulation to address increasingly autonomous robots and other forms of sophisticated AI. It passed 396-to-123, with 85 abstentions.
Responding to the report, Viola wrote: “While many of these robots and AI systems are impressive and have progressed a lot recently, they are still very far from exhibiting intelligent, human-like behaviour or are indistinguishable from a human. In other words: they don’t pass the Turing test yet. This futuristic vision would need a debate at a different level, including asking very profound ethical questions.”
He added: “We have to be cautious and address concrete problems we are facing today and carefully assess if the current legislation is fit for purpose. For instance, now attempting to regulate human-like artificial intelligence as portrayed in Hollywood movies like ‘Ex Machina’ or ‘I, Robot’ is probably too far-fetched and speculative.”
Viola’s comments will likely be welcomed by tech firms and AI gurus who are keen to press ahead with AI developments and make the smartest machines possible. They will no doubt see any form of government regulation around hypothetical human-like AI as a setback at this stage.
Politicians are concerned that robots will wipe out millions of jobs worldwide. Some in the AI community have also expressed fears that superintelligent machines could harm humanity if they’re not programmed in the right way.
“We have to monitor what is happening and then we have to be prepared for every scenario,” said the author of the report, Mary Delvaux, in an interview published on the European Parliament website.