AI could crash democracy and cause wars, warns Japan's NTT

Calls for ecosystem in which AIs keep other AIs in check, and lots more regulation

Japanese telecom giant NTT issued an apocalyptic warning about the impending dangers of AI on Monday.

"If generative AI is allowed to go unchecked, trust in society as a whole may be damaged as people grow distrustful of one another and incentives are lost for guaranteeing authenticity and trustworthiness," asserted the Japanese telco in a joint proposal created with media outlet Yomiuri Shimbun.

"There is a concern that, in the worst case scenario, democracy and social order could collapse, resulting in wars," the two entities alleged.

NTT and Yomiuri Shimbun began a joint study on the ideal governance of generative AI in the fall of 2023.

The companies took offense with the lack of accuracy inherent in the technology. They warned that it presents increased danger, as most people with internet access can also access AI.

Their proposal concedes that the metaphorical cat is already out of the bag – removing generative AI at this point in time would result in a productivity decline – therefore "the out-of-control relationship between AI and the attention economy" must be confronted.

They assert that as generative AI enters the innovation phase, regulations will become necessary to secure foundational pillars of society – like elections and security.

Suggested regulations include compulsory education for students on the advantages and disadvantages of AI, updates to intellectual property (including copyright) protection, and labelling original content.

NTT and Yomiuri Shimbun acknowledge that, unlike the EU, Japan does not have a strategic and systematic AI-related data policy. As building one will take some time, "soft laws" that "offer a co-regulatory approach that identifies stakeholders" should be adopted in the meantime.

The proposal also suggests multiple AIs should be available – to keep each other in check and, so that users can cross-reference results and avoid dependence on one particular generative AI product.

NTT's overall take of generative AI is a rare expression of doubt on the technology from the tech industry itself. Most big players are busy tweaking their offerings to capitalize on AI, its equipment, and infrastructure.

AI-embracing attitudes are present in the likes of cloud providers and chipmakers – but not exactly absent in telcos.

Fellow telco giant Singtel recently kissed the ring of AI-proliferation advocate Jensen Huang, when it announced a collaboration with Nvidia to deliver purpose-built AI infrastructure across Southeast Asia. ®

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