Keep the FTC’s Hands off Artificial Intelligence

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The general panic over artificial intelligence and the Federal Trade Commission’s aim to insert itself into every corner of the U.S. economy recently dovetailed in a 20-page investigative letter the agency sent to OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT.

The FTC had warned us: Chairwoman Lina Khan publicly claimed her agency already has the authority to regulate artificial-intelligence applications in April. She elaborated on her concerns in a New York Times guest opinion piece this May. In it, she laments the lack of government intervention at the dawn of social media: “What began as a revolutionary set of technologies ended up concentrating enormous private power over key services and locking in business models that come at extraordinary cost to our privacy and security.” She counsels that as “the use of A.I. becomes more widespread, public officials have a responsibility to ensure this hard-learned history doesn’t repeat itself.”

Granting that the rise of the platform economy and social media brought challenges, it also brought convenient (often free) new services and the largest expansion of speech ever experienced in human history. Doubtless, the online revolution created uncomfortable creative destruction in certain industries, new trials for parents with social media, and other concerns, but it’s hard to argue that life was better before Uber, Instagram, Amazon Prime, Airbnb, Waze, Zoom, or their competitors. Anyone who doesn’t agree these developments are beneficial on balance remains very free not to use them, casting some doubt on Khan’s description of them above as “key.”

Read the full article on National Review.