Controversy at the digital summit about AI
The federal government hopes that the use of artificial intelligence will provide more efficient administration and provide important stimulus for the economy. It remains controversial how early legal rules should restrict the development of AI.
At the digital summit In the Federal Government, different positions on the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) have clashed harshly. While Federal Ministers Robert Habeck (Greens) and Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke out decisively against restricting the basic technology, representatives of civil society called for strict legal frameworks not only for specific AI applications, but also for the basic technology.
Matthias Spielkamp, co-founder and managing director of the non-governmental organization AlgorithmWatch, referred to a recent study of the responses of AI software robots to the recent state elections in Hesse and Bavaria. “The systems spewed out a lot of nonsense.” In this example, the companies not only developed models that could have very negative effects, but the companies had also already brought them onto the market. The self-regulation of basic technology proposed by the federal government will does not meet the challenges posed by AI.
Habeck, on the other hand, defended the federal government’s position of making a distinction between the basic technology and the specific AI application. “Everything is vulnerable to abuse. We can use electricity to kill people and build electric chairs and we can use electricity to power health devices or make access to medicine and education easier and better.”
Before you can require a technology to comply with social values, you first have to have this technology, said Habeck. “We have to be careful that regulation doesn’t limit us so much that in the end only Elon Musk is left.” The American tech billionaire founded his AI company xAI in July and recently presented his first AI program “Grok”.
Carla Hustedt, head of the Digital Society at Stiftung Mercato, warned against too lax regulation: “We must not take the Chinese or American route just because we are afraid of being left behind.”
In the European Union, crucial negotiations on the new AI Act are currently underway between the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission. There should be an agreement by the end of the year. Germany recently agreed with France and Italy on a joint position paper advocating regulation for AI applications. When it comes to basic technologies, the three largest EU states want to limit themselves to self-regulation of the industry.