February 26, 2024

In 2023, the impact of artificial intelligence on social and economic relations was significant, largely due to the success of large language models in solving complex tasks and the claims of progress towards artificial general intelligence. Industry giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon invested heavily in AI projects and introduced their own language models, leading to a surge in hardware profits. However, concerns about the dangers of AI, particularly in the deployment of large language models, were voiced by industry experts and academics, but were largely ignored in favor of an industry-centric worldview and self-regulation by industry leaders.

In the US, the government announced voluntary rules for AI companies, but no concrete regulations were put in place. In contrast, the EU passed the AI Act, the only such law in the world, with specific red lines to prohibit certain uses of AI. However, the law has been criticized for gaps in regulation and lack of addressing industrial policy related to AI. Overall, there is a lack of democratic voices in the AI policy process, with the control surrendered to a handful of tech companies.

The hope for 2024 is for greater socialization of AI policy and for the people to take over its imagination and control, as expressed by the writer, an assistant professor at the Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies at IIT, Bombay.

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