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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“Soft Law” Governance of Artificial Intelligence

  • Author(s): Marchant, Gary
  • et al.
Abstract

On November 26, 2017, Elon Musk tweeted: “Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars. Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA wdn’t [sic] make flying safer. They’re there for good reason.”

In this and other recent pronouncements, Musk is calling for artificial intelligence (AI) to be regulated by traditional regulation, just as we regulate foods, drugs, aircraft and cars. Putting aside the quibble that food, drugs, aircraft and cars are each regulated very differently, these calls for regulation seem to envision one or more federal regulatory agencies adopting binding regulations to ensure the safety of AI. Musk is not alone in calling for “regulation” of AI, and some serious AI scholars and policymakers have likewise called for regulation of AI using traditional governmental regulatory approaches .

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