July 2022

As I continue to work hard to complete my new book project on the governance of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, I thought I would start a running list of all the essays and reports I’ve already rolled out on these issues just so I can keep track of everything. I also want to use this as an opportunity to seek out potential intellectual allies in what will become the biggest technology policy battle of our lifetime.

I have so many forthcoming essays and papers planned that I can’t begin to list them all here, but stay tuned because much more is to come. Anyway, here’s the list of what I’ve done so far. I will continue to update this as more material is released: Continue reading →

I’m finishing up my next book, which is tentatively titled, “A Flexible Governance Framework for Artificial Intelligence.” I thought I’d offer a brief preview here in the hope of connecting with others who care about innovation in this space and are also interested in helping to address these policy issues going forward.

The goal of my book is to highlight the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML), robotics, and the power of computational science are set to transform the world—and the world of public policy—in profound ways. As with all my previous books and research products, my goal in this book includes both empirical and normative components. The first objective is to highlight the tensions between emerging technologies and the public policies that govern them. The second is to offer a defense of a specific governance stance toward emerging technologies intended to ensure we can enjoy the fruits of algorithmic innovation.

AI is a transformational technology that is general-purpose and dual-use. AI and ML also build on top of other important technologies—computing, microprocessors, the internet, high-speed broadband networks, and data storage/processing systems—and they will become the building blocks for a great many other innovations going forward. This means that, eventually, all policy will involve AI policy and computational considerations at some level. It will become the most important technology policy issue here and abroad going forward.

The global race for AI supremacy has important implications for competitive advantage and other geopolitical issues. This is why nations are focusing increasing attention on what they need to do to ensure they are prepared for this next major technological revolution. Public policy attitudes and defaults toward innovative activities will have an important influence on these outcomes.

In my book, I argue that, if the United States hopes to maintain a global leadership position in AI, ML, and robotics, public policy should be guided by two objectives:

  1. Maximize the potential for innovation, entrepreneurialism, investment, and worker opportunities by seeking to ensure that firms and other organizations are prepared to compete at a global scale for talent and capital and that the domestic workforce is properly prepared to meet the same global challenges.
  2. Develop a flexible governance framework to address various ethical concerns about AI development or use to ensure these technologies benefit humanity, but work to accomplish this goal without undermining the goals set forth in the first objective.

The book primarily addresses the second of these priorities because getting the governance framework for AI right significantly improves the chances of successfully accomplishing the first goal of ensuring that the United States remains a leading global AI innovator. Continue reading →

For my latest regular column in The Hill, I took a look at the trade-offs associated with the EU’s AI Act. This is derived from a much longer chapter on European AI policy that is in my forthcoming book, and I also plan on turning it into a free-standing paper at some point soon. My oped begins as follows:

In the intensifying race for global competitiveness in artificial intelligence (AI), the United States, China and the European Union are vying to be the home of what could be the most important technological revolution of our lifetimes. AI governance proposals are also developing rapidly, with the EU proposing an aggressive regulatory approach to add to its already-onerous regulatory regime.

It would be imprudent for the U.S. to adopt Europe’s more top-down regulatory model, however, which already decimated digital technology innovation in the past and now will do the same for AI. The key to competitive advantage in AI will be openness to entrepreneurialism, investment and talent, plus a flexible governance framework to address risks.

Jump over to The Hill to read the entire thing. And down below you will find all my recent writing on AI and robotics. This will be my primary research focus in coming years.

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A growing number of conservatives are calling for Big Government censorship of social media speech platforms. Censorship proposals are to conservatives what price controls are to radical leftists: completely outlandish, unworkable, and usually unconstitutional fantasies of controlling things that are ultimately much harder to control than they realize. And the costs of even trying to impose and enforce such extremist controls are always enormous.

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal ran a response I wrote to a proposal set forth by columnist Peggy Noonan in which she proposed banning everyone under 18 from all social-media sites (“We Can Protect Children and Keep the Internet Free,” Apr. 15). I expanded upon that letter in an essay here entitled, “Should All Kids Under 18 Be Banned from Social Media?” National Review also recently published an article penned by Christine Rosen in which she also proposes to “Ban Kids from Social Media.” And just this week, Zach Whiting of the Texas Public Policy Foundation published an essay on “Why Texas Should Ban Social Media for Minors.”

I’ll offer a few more thoughts here in addition to what I’ve already said elsewhere. First, here is my response to the Rosen essay. National Review gave me 250 words to respond to her proposal:

While admitting that “law is a blunt instrument for solving complicated social problems,” Christine Rosen (“Keep Them Offline,” June 27) nonetheless downplays the radicalness of her proposal to make all teenagers criminals for accessing the primary media platforms of their generation. She wants us to believe that allowing teens to use social media is the equivalent of letting them operate a vehicle, smoke tobacco, or drink alcohol. This is false equivalence. Being on a social-media site is not the same as operating two tons of steel and glass at speed or using mind-altering substances.

Teens certainly face challenges and risks in any new media environment, but to believe that complex social pathologies did not exist before the Internet is folly. Echoing the same “lost generation” claims made by past critics who panicked over comic books and video games, Rosen asks, “Can we afford to lose another generation of children?” and suggests that only sweeping nanny-state controls can save the day. This cycle is apparently endless: Those “lost generations” grow up fine, only to claim it’s the next generation that is doomed!

Rosen casually dismisses free-speech concerns associated with mass-media criminalization, saying that her plan “would not require censorship.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Rosen’s prohibitionist proposal would deny teens the many routine and mostly beneficial interactions they have with their peers online every day. While she belittles media literacy and other educational and empowerment-based solutions to online problems, those approaches continue to be a better response than the repressive regulatory regime she would have Big Government impose on society.

I have a few more things to say beyond these brief comments. Continue reading →