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'AI could threaten democratic values,' says Dr. Daron Acemoglu

'AI could threaten democratic values,' says Dr. Daron Acemoglu

Posted May. 27, 2024 08:01,   

Updated May. 27, 2024 08:01


The fate of AI should not be left solely in the hands of a few Silicon Valley leaders such as Sam Altman and Elon Musk, cautioned Professor Daron Acemoglu at MIT, a renowned political economist, in an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo last Tuesday (local time). He underscored that artificial intelligence, with its immense technological potential comparable to the invention of steam engines or computer systems, could lead to societal inequalities and threaten democratic values if not managed properly. He raised the alarm over the current industrial landscape where a small group of tech leaders such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wields significant control over the AI revolution, which could have a transformative impact akin to the Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution.

Professor Acemoglu is famous for “Why Nations Fail,” one of the most-read books among world leaders. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol referred to it as one of the most influential books he had ever read when he went on the campaign trail. In his recently published book, “Power and Progress,” the insightful scholar warns about AI monopoly by giving ample historical examples of only a few elites capitalizing on technological power to have exclusive access to social benefits.

Professor Acemoglu highlighted the current AI developments led by Silicon Valley executives, particularly in the areas of AGI (artificial general intelligence) and atomization. He argued that these developments, while significant, do not address the pressing need for increased productivity and better job opportunities. He stressed the urgency of developing well-designed AI regulatory frameworks and policies that prioritize human interests in AI innovations. He also commended South Korea as a potential model for an economy driven by technological development and human resources in the AI era.

Professor Acemoglu will talk about “AI and the Future of Economy & Society” as a keynote speaker at the 2024 Dong-A International Finance Forum organized jointly by The Dong-A Ilbo and Channel A this Thursday under the theme of the great AI transformation and the future of South Korean finance.

Hyoun-Soo Kim kimhs@donga.com