Should a federal agency govern artificial intelligence?

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A new survey finds that a majority of computer science experts at top US research universities want to see the creation of a new federal agency or global organization to govern artificial intelligence.

The Axios-Generation Lab-Syracuse University AI Experts Survey of computer science professors found that 37% favored a new “Department of AI” to regulate AI, while 22% thought a global organization or treaty was the best option. These findings compared with 16% of respondents who said Congress was the best entity to regulate AI, while 4% said the responsibility falls on the White House, and 3% mentioned the private sector. About 14% of respondents said AI cannot be regulated, while 3% said AI should not be regulated.

Generation Lab conducted the survey for Axios in partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (IDJC) and the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute (ASPI).

Margaret Talev, director of the IDJC, says the survey offered a different and important perspective on the expanding conversation about the uses and proliferation of AI.

“While larger general-population surveys can provide broad insights into most Americans’ hopes, fears, and understanding of AI, this new survey offers an in-depth look at how computer science professors with significant subject-matter expertise are thinking about the same issues,” says Talev, who is also an Axios senior contributor.

“This survey provides valuable information about the current state of AI because it is based on the views of those who are closely involved in the development of AI techniques and systems,” adds Hamid Ekbia, director of the ASPI.

Some other key survey findings:

  • About 62% predict AI will increase racial, gender, and economic disparities.
  • Respondents also predict that customer service; art, design, or content creation; and administrative and support services are most likely to experience job losses due to AI over the next five years.
  • No single person is highly trusted to deal with AI issues; President Biden ranked higher than individual tech CEOs.

The Axios-Generation Lab-Syracuse University AI Experts Survey was conducted July 15–August 6. Results are based on interviews with 213 computer science professors from 65 of the top 100 computer science programs in America, as defined by SCImago Institutions Rankings. Experts from Syracuse University were among those surveyed.

A listing of the participating institutions and additional details about the methodology may be found on the Generation Lab website.

Source: Syracuse University