back to article Law prof predicts generative AI will die at the hands of watchdogs

Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation, argues Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. For Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and other tech titans that have bet heavily on machine-generated content, this is a dire forecast, though perhaps not so bad as it is for smaller companies eyeing …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    I admit I haven't watched the video, but from reading the article I get the impression that Goldman is describing the incoming wave of regulations as a decidedly bad thing?

    There are other points of view, you know. Sometimes regulation is strangling useful things, but sometimes it's strangling things that need strangling, even if they appear to be interesting.

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      I, too, haven't watched the video - but I skimmed the paper.

      The problem is that it starts with the presumption that Generative AI is for the most part benign and beneficial and that in order to flourish it needs the same light-touch regulation that greeted the commercialisation of the Internet. The alternative point of view is that having seen the consequences of light-touch regulation, lawmakers are keen not to make the same mistake twice.

      He also suggests that well-funded incumbents in the AI space may be encouraging regulation as a means of excluding potential rivals, which is possible, but perhaps simply an argument for better rules. He also seems to be arguing that the speed at which the technology moves makes regulation (worse than) useless. But that's just a counsel of despair reframed as lawyerly disdain.

      And he likens the ingestion of training materials to "indexing" by a search engine, which at the very least might be considered slightly disingenuous.

      However, he acknowledges that his talk takes "a contrarian stance", which might be a roundabout way of describing it as "clickbait"...

      1. Filippo Silver badge

        Thanks. Those arguments are by no means uncommon. Stating to be taking "a contrarian stance" sounds to be similar to prefixing someone's social media rant with "unpopular opinion". It usually isn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          taking "a contrarian stance"

          cf "teach the controversy"

      2. HuBo

        I've followed a similar path, read the article (very nicely written), watched the video at 1.25x speed skipping familiar parts, listening to Q&A at 54:24 (questions about the EU GPDR, AI folks leaving to other countries, insurance companies), and skimming over the paper. Goldman's angle is that regulation can stifle AI innovation, which seems fair. IMHO, part of the push to regulate comes from the over-extra-ultra-hyper-hype that this tech has been given by its promoters, which should freak-out just about every reasonable human being on planet earth. At the end of his paper, Goldman suggests that "It would help to rebrand Generative AI to distance it from “AI.”". Maybe ... and just for laughs I would suggest: Computer Algorithms for Creative Assistance (CACA) (eh-eh-eh!).

        Another big issue though is the degree to which genAI is truly creative, rather than a "plagiarist", or a "liar". I did not find the images produced by DALL-E in Goldman's talk to be particularly creative (they seem cut from one same, relatively boring, cloth, to me). Also, plenty of content creators and artists have found genAI's more convinving outputs to be essentially copies of their own work, sometimes verbatim (hence the many copyright lawsuits). And, if Chief Justice Roberts believes AI can assist the poor in their legal defenses, and it is so great, even as OpenAI (and Microsoft) trust that they are developing superhuman-intelligence, that can pass entry tests to med school, law school, and what have you, then why don't they just put their money where their mouth is and use ChatGPT as their one and unique lawyer in the copyright court case against them brought by the New York Times?

        ...just my two-pence on this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I doubt a lot any sort of law and regulation will be able to close Pandora's box again, but if it succeeded then it would immensly increase my respect for law makers, politiciens and laywers.

    3. AI Hater

      One can only hope that the govs actually protect us from the demon that is AI

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    Eric Goldman has never legislated, or been involved in a legal case, involving the use of lamps and escaped genies it seems.

  3. Zibob Bronze badge

    Man who deals entirely inside the law cannot see outside it

    Sure legal ruling will prohibit the use and building of generalAI but when has that stopped literally anything it was intended to.

    Usually such a ruling is a high flag that what they are banning is worth a LOT and even more the the right people.

    Headline should be more accurately what above OR: Lawyer Speeds Up Race For Illegal General AI.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation"


    I fail to see what benefit the making of entirely fabricated content can bring. If I want to read something that has a chance of being interesting, I want it to have been produced by a human, under human oversight.

    Sure, throw in an image made by Leonardo. That's not a problem because it will be the human that has decided that the image was relevant. If said human had asked another human to create the image, the result would have been the same. Leonardo is just destroying the livelyhood of actual human content creators. If everyone is OK with that, then let's do that.

    But I refuse to read a book that has been generated by pseudo-AI. I refuse to read entire articles generated by a machine. I do not see how they can possibly be engaging and interesting.

    GenAI can drown. It's no loss to me.

    1. UnknownUnknown

      Re: "Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation"

      Simply they need to pay for their use of other people’s work.l they have trawled, scraped for nothing. Not even bought a book or journal, and it also sound like various organisations are breaching data protection and flogging personal info for them to snoop on.

      Royalties ? As per entertainment may provide a model ?

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: "Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation"

        I don't want to get paid a paltry amount of royalties, I don't want any of the content I've created since the beginning of the Web to be used to train AI without my permission, and I certainly don't want any of my work to be used to further enrich Microsoft, a company that I have been fighting against my entire career.

        1. UnknownUnknown

          Re: "Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation"

          I think it’s a binary between getting paid for it or not

          Once published, you loose effective control..

          Why it’s called the public domain!

          …unless you can persuade someone to trademark or patent it to your advantage so you can flog it yourself, licence it or franchise it.

          1. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: "Generative AI is destined to drown in a tsunami of regulation"

            "Publishing" does not mean "putting in the public domain".

            For example, a website can't, generally speaking, collect a user's posts, turn them into a book, print it and sell it. The user would sue and win. The website would need to craft a careful EULA (before the posts are made) and get the user to accept it, in order to be able to do that. Many do exactly that.

            Good arguments can be made that scraping content and using it as input to a LLM training phase should be considered in a similar fashion. And no website has that condition in their EULAs (at least, not until very very recently).

  5. b0llchit Silver badge

    Outlawed tech is used by outlaws

    Pandora's box has been opened and we threw away the box in the process.

    You can ban the general public from accessing these AI models, but it surely will not prevent any state or private home user from using it in a frenzy of whatever they want to do with it.

    You cannot stop this any more. The ghost has left the bottle, we threw away the bottle and the ghost is now haunting us.

    When you outlaw the tech only outlaws will be using the tech.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    generative AI will die at the hands of watchdogs

    Seems to me that it's much more likely to die because it's very expensive to do at scale and not really as good as it's made out to be.

  7. Gordon 10

    If history tells us anything its that legal obstacles have rarely stopped or got in the way of the Hyperscalars.

    The Prof is delusional, and the regulators will be fighting a rear guard action - just like Ad-tech, Privacy/GDPR etc etc etc

  8. cantankerous swineherd

    be careful when identifying mushrooms...

  9. Postscript

    "sport of kings"

    What kind of excuse is that? It -should- be expensive for the corporations flogging AI. If they want to avoid a tsunami of lawsuits, then train on licensed materials! Pay people and the whole problem just goes away.

  10. Locomotion69

    No it won't

    There is too much money in GenAI to make it stop. Companies will invest more in their GenAI products so that the outcome has sufficient "original" aspects that it survises claims for either copyright infringement or plagiarism.

    They will argue that the GenAI is trained, and therefore "inspired", by existing work.

    Isn't that is how we all have been educated ?

    Regulations and laws are just additional inputs to the GenAI to deal with. And as it gets better, it should resolve these issues all by itself anyway.

  11. Glenn Amspaugh
    Black Helicopters

    AI Is Doon?

    Butlerian Regulators on line 3

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