AI is taking a toll on Americans every day while the Whitehouse celebrates the rollout of their toothless Blueprint for AI Bill of Rights and Big Tech taunts congress regarding regulations with a “bring it on” attitude. Doesn’t this seem backward? Government shies away from regulations and business WANTS it!? What’s up with that?
As an experienced Big Tech technologist, AI researcher, and executive leader who advises hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, I offer a unique take on what our government is doing and why Big Tech appears to be so eager to be regulated.
1) Why does this situation exist where the US government is light on regulation, allowing other countries to determine our fate, and Big Tech is often begging for regulation?
a) Merely 7 years ago, only 10% of US businesses used AI. Now, 83% say using AI is a top business strategy. Some argue that the light government touch has allowed this massive growth to occur and the US now leads the world in AI innovation.
b) Although Big Tech has benefited tremendously, expecting the AI-based revenue market to top $433 billion by next year, they live in constant fear of competition from the next hot product. When companies can go from startup to domination in 3-5 years, the smartest large companies seek regulation.
c) Regulation is harder on startups than it is on massive, rich companies. And, if everyone is forced to play by exactly the same rules about what content people are able to post, it’s harder to differentiate your product. For example, someone who wants to read politically conservative content will stay on Facebook if there’s nowhere else to go to find different content.
d) Bottom line, those same startup entrepreneurs like Meta’s Zuckerburg and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai who once wanted no regulation so that they could rampantly innovate, are now afraid of those like them; and are seeking protection from the government to maintain their market dominance.
2) Today, there is no comprehensive legal or regulatory framework for AI in the US. This leaves us lagging with other countries paving the way for laws that impact American companies and citizens. This is costing us billions and giving away our freedoms by accepting standards set for us by China and Europe.
3) The Chinese government isn’t often thought of as being quick to protect its people. Not true with regard to AI. They are aggressively moving to curb the power of big tech. They have focused on ensuring that users know when they are being targeted by AI and can opt out. This has led to 26 out of 28 popular apps introducing this capability, therefore, empowering the Chinese people to make this choice for themselves.
4) Last year, the European Commission proposed a common regulatory and legal framework for all AI. As of 2024, across the EU they are officially able to fine US Big Tech companies multi-billions of dollars for breaking their rules AND they have a provision that charges these companies to cover their government’s costs to manage compliance. So, not only will American companies be forking over billions, but they will ALSO be paying for the people who find reasons to bill us.