By: Tom Jeffcoate
Although usually a major headwind for emerging technologies, it makes total sense for the tech industry’s big hitters to be calling for AI regulation, according to Tom Jeffcoate, of Stonehage Fleming’s Global Best Ideas Equity Fund.
“Almost a year since the much-hyped launch of ChatGPT, it is totally understandable – indeed logical – for the industry to call out for regulation. It also makes sense that it is the big players who are doing so,” he told guests at the Stonehage Fleming Family investment Conference 2023, last week.
“For many companies, regulation would lock in the economic ‘moat’ – their ability to maintain a competitive advantage over rivals in order to protect long-term profits and market share.”
In April, Google boss, Sundar Pichai, called for a global regulatory framework for AI similar to those used to regulate nuclear arms use in an interview on CBS’s 60 minutes. Shortly after, in May, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, testified before a US Senate committee calling on US lawmakers to regulate the technology.
More recently, Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, outlined the principles that Microsoft believes should guide the development of legislation to advance safe, secure, and trustworthy AI before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee this September for a hearing entitled Oversight of AI: Legislating on Artificial Intelligence. In it he threw his support behind a framework released by Senators Blumenthal and Hawley, which seeks to regulate AI, something, he noted, requiring both “urgency and speed”.
“Look at it from Microsoft’s point of view,” explained Tom. “They have spent billions of dollars in developing their AI technology. The advent of regulation would be a great way of making it harder for disruptors to enter the stage and derail their plans. It is a strong argument for existing investors in the AI space to join them in welcoming the introduction of regulation.”
Tom was speaking at the Stonehage Fleming Family Investment Conference 2023 in ‘Investing in Artificial Intelligence’, a panel discussion chaired by Eleana Watts, Senior Analyst Investment Management.
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