Japanese telecom giant warns of AI dangers

The concerns expressed by NTT contrast with the industry’s general embrace of AI technology.

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Japanese telecom giant NTT issued a dire warning on Monday regarding the potential hazards of unchecked AI, expressing concerns about its impact on societal trust and stability. Teaming up with media outlet Yomiuri Shimbun, NTT emphasised the need for governance over generative AI, highlighting the risk of societal collapse and even wars if left unaddressed. The joint proposal follows a collaborative study initiated in the fall of 2023 to explore the ideal governance framework for generative AI.

Citing issues with accuracy and accessibility, NTT and Yomiuri Shimbun underscored the heightened danger posed by generative AI, which is easily accessible to individuals with internet connectivity. While acknowledging the challenge of reversing AI’s proliferation, the proposal advocates for proactive measures to regulate the relationship between AI and the attention economy, particularly in critical areas like elections and security. Proposed regulations include educational initiatives on AI for students, updates to intellectual property protection, and ‘soft laws’ to identify stakeholders without a comprehensive AI data policy.

The proposal also advocates for establishing multiple AI systems in Japan to monitor each other, enabling users to cross-reference results and mitigate reliance on any generative AI product. NTT’s stance on generative AI departs from the prevailing trend in the tech industry, where most significant players actively leverage AI for various applications. While AI adoption is widespread among cloud providers and chipmakers, telecom companies like NTT are more cautious, recognising the need for comprehensive governance in navigating the AI landscape.