Winner Takes All … Welcome to the World of AI, and Health and Wellbeing

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How will AI affect your health and well-being? Well, if you watched on the media, AI will bring forward a world of amazing medical advances, robotic vehicles that will stop road accidents, and kind bots that will help our kids do their homework.

But, and I repeat, how will AI affect your health and well-being? Well, you might be able to get better advice on your alments from ChatGPT than from the GP that takes weeks to get an appointment. But, if you lose your job to AI and have to rely on the state for a minimum wage, it might just affect you more than you think. And that’s you and many of the people who live in your street. The almost exponential rise in the power of AI looks unstoppable just now, and when Deep Learning moves into GAI (General Artifical Intelligence), we all need to be worried about our jobs. Welcome, to a new world of intellectual automation, and where you could be the target.

What is wellness?

It has been an honour to interact with Sir Harry Burns, and who outlined that “wellness” is not quite related to avoiding being ill, but to the general feeling of purpose in one’s life. A core part of this is for us to have “good jobs”, and to feel like we have a purpose in our lives:

An investment in good jobs in our society is possibly a better investment for the health and well-being of our citizens than an investment in a new hospital. Sir Harry Burns has pinpointed, in the past, that some of Glasgow’s health problems are actually related to the decay of shipbuilding in the city (and thus the loss of good jobs). Now, with the rise of AI, we might have to get used to the loss of “good jobs”, and where mass unemployment may become the norm.

The Decline of “Good Jobs”

Imagine that you could get the best legal advice in the world, or automate all of the accounting in your company? Sounds great? Well, not really, as your local accountancy and legal firm in your area has just closed down due to a lack of business.

“So what”, you say, “they have been taking my money for years, and now I press a button and it’s all there for me”. But, all those people who had good jobs paid tax, and this tax kept our schools open and paid for our teachers, their tax paid people to clean the streets, and their tax paid for health care professionals to look after you. Without “good jobs”, and the ability to make and do things that people want, our society will crumble.

If you listen to some politicians and the media, they can only see good things. A new way of scanning for cancer, or a new smart bus that drives itself. But for every new application, there’s likely to be jobs lost.

While many countries around the world dance around their bags on AI, the EU is, at least, making an effort to understand the key issues involved, and has published a series of papers on AI from Think Tanks [here]:

Intellectual monopolization and “Winner Takes It All”

Some predict that the disruption of AI will mean around 40–50% of all our jobs will be lost within the next few years and that the power of our world will be concentrated in just a few countries and companies. It is a “Winner Takes All” approach, and where it is China and the US are likely to be the winners. While the UK has a strong research base, the country does not do well in converting its research into the creation of new AI-focused companies. One of the papers presented in the Think Tank papers is one on the “Intellectual monopolisation on steroids” [here]:

The paper outlines, in a world of AI and Cloud Computing, the powerful tech companies will only get bigger and more powerful,

“Big Tech also monopolises code coproduced with scholars and developers to train AI models and turn them into marketable products. They offer all these digital technology pieces in their clouds. Amazon, Microsoft and Google possess over 65% of the world’s cloud computing business.”

and that:

“Social and economic progress will remain undermined unless these extreme forms of intellectual monopoly are dismantled.”

While universities and libraries have been at the core of our supply of intellect, the rise of AI could see the intellectal thought being concentrated into just a few companies in the world (eg Google, Microsoft and Amazon), and in a few contries of the world (China and US). While books and scholars have in the past driven intellectual through, it may focus on just a few power entities. These entities will get richer, and these excluded will be poor. And, it’s likely to be an exponential rise and fall. If Google pays tax in your area, you will do well, if not, your schools may lack funding. Once you start to reduce the investment in the next generation, your society will eventually fail.

US and China

So, how come the UK will not be a powerful leader on the world stage for AI? Well, the UK perhaps struggles to convert its excellent research base into companies which scale. There is often a lack of real investment and risk in high impact companies. The start-ups and spin-outs often lack the investment from venture capital companies, and are often easily picked-off by cash-rich tech companies. A good example of this is where the UK company of Deepmind was bought by Google in 2014, and which has since provided a core of Google’s advancement in AI [here]. At the time, it was Google’s largest investment in an EU comany.

And, what about the EU? Well, just like the UK, it is struggling, and while it invested heavily in R&D in the Horizon 2020 programme, it has (perhaps) failed to build next generation companies which are driven by AI. Overall, it though the markets were in 5G, health care and transport, but failed to see the rise of LLMs. And, so, the EU is struggling to know if it should drive innovation forward, or to regulate against it.

This paper highlights that the EU have possibility missed out on the rise of AI [here]:

With this, the investment in Generative AI seems to be moving very much towards US companies, with the investment in OpenAI and Anthropic dwarfing EU and UK investments:

Increasenly the EU are trying to constrain the “Magnificant Seven” (Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Netflix, Google, Meta and Microsoft). This is done through Europe’s policies, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Digital Markets Act (DMA), and Digital Services Act (DSA). But, while GDPR is being used to restrict US and Chinese AI companies, it also restricts start-up companies in the EU in the things they can do.

Other papers

Charting the geopolitics and European governance of Artificial Intelligence
Carnegie Europe, March 2024

The EU’s AI Act creates regulatory complexity for open-source AI
Center for Data Innovation, March 2024

What to expect from the Digital Markets Act
Centre for European Reform, March 2024

Quantum computing: A blessing and a threat to our digital world
Friends of Europe, March 2024

Artificial intelligence, diplomacy and democracy: from divergence to convergence
Friends of Europe, March 2024

Is the EU missing another tech wave with AI?
Atlantic Council, February 2024

Should the UN govern global AI?
Brookings Institution, February 2024

Fairness in machine learning: Regulation or standards?
Brookings Institution, February 2024

Licensing AI is not the answer, but it contains the answers
Brookings Institution, February 2024

Tech firms’ promise to fight election fakes is a good start, but only a start
Bruegel, February 2024

Intellectual monopolization on steroids: Big Tech in the AI age
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, February 2024

The AI election year: How to counter the impact of Artificial Intelligence
German Council on Foreign Relations, February 2024

Quel rôle pour le groupe aéronaval à l’heure de la guerre en réseau?
Institut français des relations internationales, February 2024

Artificial Intelligence and democracy
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies,

Why artificial general intelligence lies beyond deep learning
Rand Corporation, February 2024

The dark side of urban Artificial Intelligence: addressing the environmental and social impact of algorithms
Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, January 2024

The impact of generative AI in a global election year
Brookings Institution, January 2024

Effective AI regulation requires understanding general-purpose AI
Brookings Institution, January 2024

The implications of the AI boom for non-state armed actors
Brookings Institution, January 2024

How the EU can navigate the geopolitics of AI
Carnegie Europe, January 2024

Rethinking concerns about AI’s energy use
Center for Data Innovation, January 2024

The New York Times’ copyright lawsuit against OpenAI threatens the future of AI and fair use
Center for Data Innovation, January 2024

The long-termist fear of a future malevolent superintelligence is hindering our progress today
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2024

Envisioning Africa’s AI governance landscape in 2024
European Centre for Development Policy Management, January 2024

Nuclear arms control policies and safety in artificial intelligence: Transferable lessons or false equivalence?
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, January 2024

Algorithms by and for the workers
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, January 2024

Rethinking concerns about AI’s energy use
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, January 2024

Pour une Autorité française de l’IA
Institut Montaigne, January 2024

The promise and peril of AI in the power grid
Rand Corporation, January 2024

AI poses risks to both authoritarian and democratic politics
Wilson Center, January 2024

A cluster analysis of national AI strategies
Brookings Institution, December 2023

New technologies in the workplace: A round-up of project research
Bruegel, December 2023

Skills or a degree? The rise of skills-based hiring for AI and green jobs
Bruegel, December 2023

The competitive relationship between cloud computing and generative AI
Bruegel, December 2023

Artificial intelligence and energy consumption
Bruegel, December 2023

Policymakers should use the SETI model to prepare for AI doomsday scenarios
Center for Data Innovation, December 2023

What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Council on Foreign Affairs, December 2023

Artificial Intelligence and the clustering of human capital: The risks for Europe
European Centre for International Political Economy, December 2023

Après le ravage des écrans, l’école doit-elle vraiment sauter dans le train de l’intelligence artificielle?
Institut Thomas More, December 2023

Philosophical debates about AI risks are a distraction
Rand Corporation, December 2023

The EU AI Act is a cautionary tale in open-source AI regulation
Center for Data Innovation, December 2023

Generative AI: Global governance and the risk-based approach
Centre on Regulation in Europe, November 2023

AI won’t be safe until we rein in Big Tech
European Policy Studies, November 2023

The drama at OpenAI shows that AI governance remains in the hands of a select few
Chatham House, November 2023

The global race for Artificial Intelligence regulation
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, November 2023

Awareness of artificial intelligence: Diffusion of information about AI versus ChatGPT in the United States
Kiel Institute for the World Economy, November 2023

The geopolitics of Generative AI: international implications and the role of the European Union
Real Institute Elcano, November 2024

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Prof Bill Buchanan OBE
ASecuritySite: When Bob Met Alice

Professor of Cryptography. Serial innovator. Believer in fairness, justice & freedom. Based in Edinburgh. Old World Breaker. New World Creator. Building trust.