Monday 15 February 2021 6:00 am

Debate: Should AI become a regulated technology?

It’s set to transform most aspects of our lives, but AI is still barely understood – and barely regulated. Is it time?

Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO of Freshworks says YES

AI has always been important, but we’re moving from theory and setup to practice as we deliver practical and actionable recommendations – and that’s really exciting.

As we see more applications of AI adopted and deployed, we’ll need AI regulation to ensure the technology is used responsibly and consumer privacy is protected. Businesses should give end-users the choice to opt-in to AI or we’ll quickly go down the rabbit hole of privacy violations. It’s important to remember AI holds tremendous promise – impacting everything from transportation algorithms to customer success chatbots – so we need to clearly define the privacy boundary by requiring users to opt-in.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with AI, and people are excited to see all the potential that AI can deliver. Regulation forces technologists to think about the long-term side effects of AI to pre-empt problems that could arise in a year or a hundred. We need balanced regulation that both protects privacy and gives industries the opportunity to innovate. We’ll see a lot more proposed plans, initiatives and regulations before we get it right.

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(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Chetan Dube, founder and CEO of Amelia, an IPsoft Company, says NO

As the competition for global AI leadership accelerates, countries that impose a heavier regulatory burden on the sector risk falling behind those that nurture a more entrepreneurial climate. STEM education, digital infrastructure investment and R&D tend to become more difficult in regions with high levels of red tape.  

Innovation frees us from the mundane, from the repetitive and, time and again, empowers us to apply our talents more effectively and efficiently. So, while we must always remain fully cognisant of how AI will impact humanity, there is a clear threat that stifling innovation can have a negative impact on the overall competitiveness, productivity growth and health of a society. 

For us to truly harness the power of AI and help people around the world, we must minimise regulation so organisations can retain their competitiveness on the global stage and continue bringing new innovative ideas and technologies to market – while opening the door to new and more exciting jobs.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.