Substantial thought and angst has been expended over the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) is coming to your workplace to take over blue- and white-collar jobs, alike.
But a major risk of AI has been almost entirely ignored: the threat to companies’ intellectual property (IP).
Existing laws are insufficient to protect against the unique threats posed by AI. While I am no fan of over-regulation, now is the time to call for legislative action — before it’s too late.
Leading technological and legal minds need to develop legislative safeguards that Congress can enact — ones that will sensibly protect employers’ IP from the risks of AI. I’ve coined this proposed new regulation as “The Artificial Intelligence Data Protection Act” (AIDPA).
Stephen Hawking forewarns, “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”
Initially, companies will program AI to limit disclosure of confidential information to authorized key personnel, to execute defense protocols when hacked and, in general, to comply with existing laws protecting IP. But when AI exceeds initial programming, and with morality lacking, how will the law prevent or empower redress?
It is undeniable that AI will rapidly replace human workers, will quickly self-evolve, cannot be taught or bound by morality and that the “AI of Things” is coming. Each day, leading minds are working to enhance AI so that it evolves beyond initial programming boundaries. This includes developing methods for AI to assess a situation and determine on its own whether it will “follow” an “order/command” from a human or determine that it is in the AI-enhanced robot’s “best interest” to disregard the prompt and act in a contrary way.
Simultaneously, the ability to “teach” AI “morality” continues to elude us. This is only the beginning of what Mr. Hawking describes as “an IT arms race fuelled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation.”
Just a few of many imaginable scenarios should give us pause: AI transmitting trade secrets to competitors or foreign governments; being “hijacked” by hostile actors; evolving malicious programs, withholding IP; collaborating with humans — or each other — to compromise IP.