Containing AI in Open Societies: Balancing Power and Control in the Digital Age

Ulrich Fischer

Hatched by Ulrich Fischer

Nov 09, 2023

3 min read


Containing AI in Open Societies: Balancing Power and Control in the Digital Age

In the modern era, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has presented a complex challenge for open societies. The distributed nature of AI technologies has eroded the authority of traditional power structures, such as the state. This dilemma, referred to as "uncontained asymmetry" by Suleyman in his book, highlights the need for checks and balances in a digital age where power is dispersed and the public sphere is disempowered.

Throughout history, hierarchical political orders have provided a framework for societies to address common challenges. However, the advent of AI disrupts this traditional model. The internet, for example, centralizes power in a few hubs while simultaneously empowering billions of individuals. This dynamic has given rise to behemoth companies like Google and Amazon, creating a tension between empowerment and control.

The concept of the creator economy is another manifestation of this tension. In 2021, data from 50 popular creator platforms revealed that 668,000 creators had received $10 billion in payouts. Surprisingly, by 2023, this sector continued to grow at a rapid pace, with over 1 million creators onboarded and $25 billion in earnings.

The intersection of AI and the creator economy highlights the need for thoughtful consideration of power dynamics in open societies. As AI becomes increasingly integrated into various industries, it is crucial to find common points and natural connections between these two realms.

One common point is the role of platforms in both AI and the creator economy. In the AI sphere, platforms like Google and Amazon have achieved significant dominance. Similarly, in the creator economy, platforms such as YouTube and Patreon have established themselves as key players. These platforms wield immense power in shaping the trajectory of AI and the creator economy.

To address the challenges posed by the concentration of power in these platforms, actionable advice can be derived. Firstly, it is crucial to establish robust regulatory frameworks that promote competition and prevent the monopolization of power. This includes antitrust measures and regulations that encourage market diversity.

Secondly, fostering transparency and accountability within these platforms is essential. Users should have access to clear guidelines and policies that govern the platform's operations, ensuring fair treatment and opportunities for all creators. Additionally, platforms should be held accountable for their content moderation practices to prevent the spread of harmful or misleading information.

Lastly, empowering individual creators and users is vital. Open societies thrive when individuals have the agency to participate fully in the digital landscape. Providing resources and support for creators, such as access to education and funding opportunities, can help level the playing field and mitigate the concentration of power within the platforms.

In conclusion, containing AI in open societies requires a delicate balance between power and control. The distributed nature of AI technologies challenges traditional hierarchical political orders, necessitating the establishment of checks and balances in the digital age. The creator economy, with its rapid growth and platform-dominated landscape, further amplifies this tension. By implementing regulatory frameworks, promoting transparency, and empowering individual creators, open societies can navigate the complexities of AI and the creator economy while ensuring a fair and inclusive digital landscape.

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