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B.C. Green Party calling for an 'all-party artificial intelligence task force'


Artificial intelligence is increasingly present in daily life. It’s had rapid advancements in self-driving vehicles, writing papers and even medical research, but it's leading to concerns and questions about the ethics of the technology.

B.C.'s Green Party announced Thursday that it is asking for the NDP government to create an all-party AI Task Force to help better understand how far-reaching the technology can be.

"How do we create a common understanding amongst the three parties so that we have a collaborative approach to ensure that our citizens and our economy are not negatively impacted?” said Adam Olsen, the Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.

He also notes the positive impacts the technology can have, including filling labour shortages in many sectors.

“What mechanisms do we have in place to ensure we are proactive, not reactive?” he said.

Olsen likens the new technology to short-term rentals, which he said the government was slow to regulate.

"We could have put regulations in place before those detrimental impacts happened and rooted so deeply in our real estate environment," he said.

His push to be proactive is something the CEO of OpenAI – the company responsible for the popular generative AI program ChatGPT – is also urging. Sam Altman recommended regulating the industry when speaking to the U.S. Congress last week.

Experts say that type of warning to government from a corporate CEO is extremely rare.

"They used to be very much against regulation, saying, ‘Keep the government out of it,'" said Alan Mackworth, a professor emeritus of computer science at the University of British Columbia.

"Now, I think there's an awareness there's both short term and long term risks … There's huge benefits to society if we use this correctly, but, I mean, we have to have guardrails."

Restrictions to prevent misuse of the technology are something Mackworth hopes the government will look into.

“We’ve known about the potential of these tools for many years, but we’re just starting to see the impact now in the real world,” he said.

Canada's Privacy Commissioner recently launched an investigation after the alleged collection and disclosure of personal information by ChatGPT with out consent.

B.C.’s authorities, along with those of Quebec and Alberta, have joined the investigation.

Lisa Beare, B.C.'s minister of citizens’ services, tells CTV News she understands that AI is an issue that people and organizations are grappling with all over the world.

“B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner is participating in this federal investigation into OpenAI. We’re eager to see the results of that investigation and are open to discussions about how we can best complement the work that the privacy commissioners are doing across the country,” Beare said in a statement. Top Stories

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