What Regulators Should Know About AI – Opportunities and Challenges

By Nadia Gonzalez, Chief Marketing Officer, Scibids

The rapid mainstream rise of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few months has placed considerable pressure on lawmakers around the world, with many scrambling to put legislation in place before the world reaches the point of no return. With politicians like Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer pushing to set new rules for AI, now is the time to consider the possibilities.

AI has been used in the background of many of the devices that people use every day for many years, but it is no longer just a technology that works in the shadows. As more-and-more people dive into the capabilities of the technology, it’s imperative that those in charge are knowledgeable about the good and the bad it brings.

However, many of those tasked with regulating the technology have little understanding of what “AI” actually means. Particularly in the US, congressional leaders must do more to educate themselves on the topic, and use this understanding to put in place appropriate regulatory frameworks.

Not all AI is the same

When it comes to AI, it’s important to know that it’s not all sentient robots with a desire to rid the world of humans, and there are positive use cases for the technology across a number of sectors.

The two main forms of the technology come in the form of generative AI and predictive AI.

Generative AI – which has seen an explosion in popularity thanks to the likes of ChatGPT, Bard, and Midjourney – creates new content or data based on information it has previously learned. These models can be trained to generate new text, images, or music. As such, generative AI can be used to take care of tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming for a human.

It’s this generative AI that is taking up much of the attention of regulators, but predictive AI cannot be ignored either. Rather than generating content, predictive models use past data to predict future outcomes around anything from stock prices to the likelihood of a consumer converting after seeing a digital ad.

Within digital advertising, predictive AI is where the most business value can be generated, particularly in the future without third-party cookies. The predictions surfaced are measurable and provable, compared to the lack of benchmark for performance with generative AI.

Nonetheless, both generative and predictive AI have their place, and the key to their applications across businesses lies in the oversight they are given. The technology has the potential to improve our lives tenfold but needs appropriate measures in place to ensure sensible innovation, and to avoid any scenario where an AI model could be used for negative purposes.

Not a replacement

Away from the idea of “intelligent, scary robots,” there’s a more immediate and realistic concern around the threat that AI could have on people’s jobs.

The best uses of AI technology will be those that still have the backing of human input. AI should be seen as a way to assist people, rather than replace them. It should be introduced to free up teams to do better work, and ensure their skills are used to the fullest, instead of having to deal with menial tasks.

Again, in digital advertising, the technology can be trained by talented teams to deliver the best possible outcomes, increasing automation and scale, while ensuring that any privacy requirements are met. This is particularly important in a world of stronger data privacy regulations around the world, and the cookieless future.

So, it’s safe to say the proof is in the pudding. AI, with the necessary guardrails in place, can ensure that businesses are more easily meeting the standards set by regulators and, in turn, improving the consumer experience.

We can’t hide from the fact that the future will come with more automation and input from algorithms. But that future does not have to be viewed as a negative. AI has the potential to make the world a better place, but first regulators have to put the right measures in place, based on an improved knowledge of what the technology really means.

As with any innovation, there will be bad actors, but it’s up to governments to work to ensure that the number of those is kept at a minimum. There are still hurdles to overcome, but the opportunities that AI could deliver in digital advertising and beyond are endless.

Tags: AI