AI Regulation: A Futile Endeavor

The inherent inertia and inefficiency of regulators in responding to rapidly evolving sectors like AI can be attributed to several factors rooted in their nature, design, and skill sets. First, regulatory bodies are typically structured to be cautious and deliberative, prioritizing stability and risk aversion over rapid adaptation. This approach, while beneficial for maintaining systemic integrity in traditional markets, often results in a lag when faced with fast-paced technological innovations. Additionally, the design of these institutions, often bureaucratic and bound by complex legislative processes, hampers their ability to swiftly enact new policies or adapt existing ones to novel contexts. Lastly, there is often a skill and knowledge gap; regulators may lack the specialized expertise required to understand and effectively govern cutting-edge technologies, leading to a reliance on outdated frameworks or overly cautious approaches that fail to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by sectors like cryptocurrency.

This pattern of slow and inadequate responses was most recently highlighted by the rise and fall of FTX, a major cryptocurrency exchange. In 2021, FTX quickly grew into one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. In 2022 it collapsed in one of the most prolific financial fraud cases in US history. This failure served as a wake-up call. It demonstrated the risks inherent in the crypto market and the consequences of the US government’s slow response in establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework.

Consumers are getting screwed

All these regulations will create negative consequences for consumers if not carefully crafted or if they “inadvertently” favor large companies at the expense of smaller ones or innovation in general. Primarily, a reduction in innovation and diversity, slower access to advanced technologies, and decreased competition are a few of many concerns. The best example of this happening is in Canada. The telecom industry consists of only three players: Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corporation, and Bell Canada. This became possible as they lobbied and bullied their way into the top to introduce regulations to stifle any competition in mobile phone and internet services.

As a result, Canadians have significantly worse coverage plans, both locally and globally, than Americans do. Mobile phone bills have skyrocketed to eye watering prices, and Canadians are often the last to get many interesting and innovative services. This extreme competition stifling has even resulted in fatal consequences. On July 8th, 2022, Rogers Communications experienced a service outage that knocked 25% of Canada offline. This resulted in many crucial services being knocked offline, including 911 services.

What do we do then?

AI must be decentralized. Period. Full stop. Allowing something as game changing and powerful to be centralized and to follow the bottom line of business corporations is akin to allowing the internet to be controlled by corporations. If this had happened, this would have resulted in a much less free and open internet than the one we have today. Consumers of the internet today have freedom of choice in where they shop from, how often they do it, and what they wish to pay, due to the many services allowed on the internet. If it had been regulated like Microsoft had attempted to do in 1995, it would be akin to shopping in a random strip mall in midwestern America.

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