Thoughts on Public Policy, the Private Sector, and Artificial Intelligence.

Introduction

I’m a student at University of Chicago, hailing from a homeland called Malaysia. A few years ago, I came over on a scholarship. Somehow, after some economic theory, Math, psychology, linguistics, and some computer science later, it turns out that the thing that I’m most passionate about is the one domain in which they all blend together: Artificial Intelligence.

I’ve been studying a bit of Russell and Norwig, watching some machine learning videos, listening to podcasts about machine learning, and meeting lots of friends who are involved in the more data sciencey part of life:

In case you haven’t been reading the news, Artificial intelligence has been a subject of hot debate in recent days: It is the brainchild of the stock market, with artificial intelligence stocks like AMD and Nvidia taking over the AI market, with a resulting frenzy of companies willing to adopt these technologies, resulting in an AI gold rush that has influenced everything, from the relationship between man and machine, man and man, and even machine and machine: Human beings deal every day with how it is that robots should relate to people, and accordingly must make big choices as a society concerning how it is that governments and civil society should be in harmony with the creation of artificial intelligence:

This paper proposes an integrated approach to artificial intelligence development that supports data sharing and collaboration between private corporations and government, with the intent of maximising the size of the pie that results for the world.

Problem Statement

We live in an age where economic prosperity is more or less guaranteed by the machines that produce power output on a daily basis: Corporations use machines powered by AI’s that work faster than us, organise faster than us, and can be directed toward faster ends. I’d love to make a joke and say that well, welcome to our robot overlords, but it’s true: A robot may soon take your job, and policy makers are already taking note, judging by the increase in proposals for a universal basic income: A complete necessity in an economy powered by machines that operate in accordance with directives either issued by explicit code, or learned by intelligent agents that have the ability to incorporate information into sensors and act upon them, thereby incorporating basic principles of artificial intelligence as well as machine learning.

Industrialisation has brought modern civilisation to a point where economic efficiency is not yielded by human labor, but instead by increasingly intelligent artificial intelligence systems benefited by manufacturing economies of scale that have the ability to shape the way we live our lives and direct our destinies: It is inevitable that these will take over due to reduced costs and efficiency — Thereby creating the possibility of increased unemployment in a vastly systemic way that is greater than what humanity has ever imagined. As such, it is humanity’s most pertinent question to ask how it is that we as a society should cope with this change in the world order, intellectually, economically, and sociopolitically: Where shall we go, what shall we think and read about it to assure our best advantage, and how do we ensure that future generations benefit from the many changes that are presently taking place in our society?

No matter where you are in this world, no matter what industry, no matter where you are from or what your nationality means to you, the reality is that we human beings have created an entirely new economy in the past 50 years: Systems to regulate our finances, systems to control the flow of capital: As a consequence of our own behaviour, we generate worlds where trading algorithms superimposed over models of labor and goods buy at low prices and sell high in order to make shave off profits, make our economy into a virtual structure held by a global elite that holds knowledge of its structure, and positioning it upon the economic wealth of the world: If it is maintainable, then the status quo will continue — And it may well be, seeing as people in most countries have hit the biological poverty line due to state-sponsored aid. Yet we also live in a world where the majority of economic activity is stimulated by individual spending, which reduces sharply with average amount spent on labor due to reducing automation costs and insurance coverage and recurring salary expense that can be completely avoided due to automation, which companies capitalise upon by purchasing robots.

We can say that we take inequality as given, as we have before, to rationalise the economic suffering of the poor… But eventually there will be a time when inequality will put us all of us on crosses, when either the poor rebel against the rich because they have no food and cannot obtain it because they have no more income as their skills are not commensurate for the job market, or because all tasks have been automated away… Where if human beings are treated as costs alone and regarded as expendable rather than a corporation’s rightful dependents, they simply are left alone to be unemployed, and subjected to the whims of the social welfare system: If we accept the premise that we are all human beings and that ensuring that people survive and can be happy and healthy in our societies to the extent that it is possible, we should attempt to provide for our fellow man and resolve to remediate irreconcilable situations that result from the failures of our systems, by preparing to change them:

But if something must be done, then the question is… Who has the right to decide, and what should they do?

Collaborators

Intuitively, two parties are best equipped to create collaborations that will direct the course of artificial intelligence for mankind’s ‘greatest good’: The state, and the private corporation.

The state is responsible for the issuance of currency, debt, and fiscal policy: It creates the business environment within the bounds of current constraints that are posed by laws and existing covenants within the context of the particular country’s foreign policy.

The private corporation is responsible for creating profit and value, and maximising economic value for its shareholders, for it takes into account the express wishes of shareholders who have been willing to contribute money into individual investments, by playing within the rules that have been established by states in order to generate maximal possible economic output.

However, they cannot do it individually, but rather must do it together: The state cannot survive without economic growth that it provides with its own activities and is reliant on private corporations, whereas private corporations are reliant on the state to provide rule of law. As a result, these two parties must collaborate, because what is required of the world is this: To balance out the economic impact of artificial intelligence on the world by utilising a rational, well-informed approach to ensure economic transitioning that will benefit shareholders in private corporations and allow them to generate earnings, as well as to plan better in the future in accordance with information that has been compiled in such a way that its accuracy should not be in question… But rationality or no rationality, no matter the approach that is taken, it is clear: Cooperation is necessary, with an eye toward increasing the size of the pie in the collective, for collection at a later period.

To use the language of psychology… If the rules are wrong, the agents cannot play to the maximum benefit as desired: If the rules are manipulated, then agents will not trust the game or participate fully, thereby reducing the eventually obtainable result: If there is the perception that the rules could be manipulated or the credibility of the monarch comes into question, the same result transpires.

To restate what I have just said, rule of law is important — Because it allows wishes to be fully expressed without concealment that reduces the size of the overall economy in the long run.

With that in mind, on each level on which this issue is discussed, each individual human being must ask him, her, or them-self, certain very basic questions concerning artificial intelligence.

Questions.

1. Could my nation and my world withstand very sudden unemployment without an immediate change in occupations offered?

2. What should governments do in order to structure their artificial intelligence acquisition strategies in order to ensure global connectivity, and how can data scientists across nations become collaborators with one another in order to incorporate models and analysis with one another?

3. What will best assure the administration of the world created based on data to eliminate the impact of unemployment and how are such strategies scalable across the world/how can adaptation change or increase?

4. What laws do governments need to pass in order to ensure government adequately manages responsibility over AI, and to allow businesses to generate value in the market and increase their retained earnings?

5. How should governments attempt to impose restrictions on artificial intelligence (if at all), and upon whom does liability lie when it fails — Upon the individual who wrote the code, the corporation, or otherwise?

6. Does Artificial Intelligence merit a change in the way that the world’s systems are currently governed, and thereby require states to reconvene in the manner of the Treaty of Westphalia, to reform the international system?

7. What economic measures should states and private corporations take in order to ensure the distribution of artificial intelligence across the world is beneficial to the entire planet and every individual as much as possible?

Once these questions are asked and their responses are compiled for each nation, then a decision-making process can take place concerning the future of artificial intelligence, although we concede that there may be barriers to adoption of information-sharing by each individual regime.

States are, after all, wary of one another due to their common awareness that the State is the highest jurisdictional body acting in World Administration, and that other States can act accordingly due to the anarchy of the international system: As a result, States are in a difficult position to cooperate in order to answer these questions because of sovereign national interests and jurisdictional qualms fueled by a wave of right wing politics across much of the world in the struggle for national identity juxtaposed against globalism… Although it would be desirable for them to cooperate. Yes, they have many reasons to do so, to improve their planning and to guide their integration of artificial intelligence into their bureaucratic administration… But are constantly afraid of being betrayed by others, who can simply forgo their trust to achieve a higher payoff.

Private corporations will, however, choose to seize on opportunities from artificial intelligence due to economic benefits that may well best be yielded by cost reductions and efficiency improvements that result from computing power that result in a host of new performable functions in the context of current machinery — Profit incentive leads to the coordination of activities to interact and to obtain the new technology and to reform the existing payoff structure, in order to ensure that the rewards that government can potentially reap is in line with the behaviour of the market: Economics leads politics as usual, for very rational reasons.

In any scenario, there is the possibility of an artificial intelligence arms race from nation to nation that many countries will incur great costs to fight, but may well be better served on the whole if they can cooperate amongst one another in order to accept that they be governed by a single one. It is this that I take into consideration that forms the basis of the tools of artificial intelligence that we will build in order to administer our societies.

Whatever the private sector has developed, the government must wish to utilise for advancement of economic growth, and this becomes very much more useful when there is integration across a range of data sources rather than disparate data chambers that do not store information.

When designing an integration of the public and the private, it is here where big data projects shine: A data driven approach to economics is desirable because full disclosure of information and a lack of questionability concerning information is wanted, so that the debate should not be on the numbers, but rather why they are what they are: That is why we need data scientists to collaborate across nations and across borders, to create the best explanation that is based in the context of the available situation, and to collaborate with artificial intelligence researchers in order to possibly create intelligence that can administer the world economy by introducing and integrating all data sources into the processing domain of a common kernel, that the world paradigm of information and knowledge may shift in flexible response to the presence of artificial intelligence in our daily lives.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence will continue to improve the lives of many more human beings over time, and it will only continue to be more valued by both the private sector and the government. It has the potential to reform policy-making, reform the economy, and reform everything that you have ever seen in your entire life.

Regardless of whether artificial intelligence is implemented on a large scale or not, all countries certainly stand to gain by increasing their data collection capabilities, which will help with guiding decisions on a bureaucratic level: Something that has already been happening for quite a while.

As a result of a data-driven approach to economics, states will have the ability to create systems to understand economic advantages in their data, and to address questions of resource allocation, ensuring that each citizen within the economy has an allocation of capital that is sufficient to cover basic needs — If there is the possibility that we can collaborate in order to avert the oncoming disruptions in our economy as a result of our continued substitution of capital for labor, either by restructuring our social welfare system or by creating new and innovative jobs for individuals, then it is our moral imperative to do so with the resources that we have as a society: I call on all nations to begin the good work of collaborating together in order to begin planning together, rather than failing to respond.

As we consider the role of the State and private corporations in artificial intelligence, let us remember a simple fact:

Systems exist in order to serve the world, rather than the world existing to serve a system.

If what systems worked once are broken now, then perhaps it makes sense to begin fixing them, given that so many of them have showcased failures, revealing our missteps in planning: If it is artificial intelligence that will get us there, with rules that have been hard-coded by previous generations of individuals that determine how it is that we should live our lives, then so be it: The world is progressing and moving long past its old bounds.

Many examples exist of systems failing to serve people’s needs — Financial systems that leave the top 1% rich and the 99% in poverty, political systems that allow society to elect the wrong leaders, and healthcare systems that fail to account for the world’s most vulnerable: It is through the acknowledgment that partnerships must be made that we as individuals can begin to create deals amongst one another in order to achieve what we need to achieve in order to achieve the potentiality of a system-wide reform.

It is the libertarian paternalistic perspective of the author that it should be the case that now would be a good time to re-evaluate what we wish to achieve with our efforts as a society, aiming toward the fulfilment of the future that we are destined to arrive in our experience as human beings.

Our like of artificial intelligence should not mitigate our search for real intelligence — For that is the true key. The kind that can only be obtained by books and by learning of every kind: Real intelligence comes from the realisations yielded by intense study and a desire to make changes.