It must be a sign of maturity or anxiety, I found myself watching C-SPAN. I did not even know what C-SPAN stood for – “Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network”. It was created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a non-profit public service in the United States. Among its offerings are the proceedings of the US federal government. To some of us, comparable to watching paint dry.
Why, you ask? Did I miss paying for my Netflix account or get annoyed at the endless commercial interruptions on the free version of YouTube? C-SPAN simply had the most existential offering of the season. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was one of three artificial intelligence experts testifying as to oversight of the rapidly developing technology.
OpenAI is the company that created ChatGPT (text generating) and DALL-E (image generating) generative artificial intelligence tools. Almost anyone thinking about the evolution of AI has recently become worried about it taking over their jobs or manipulating elections through disinformation, etc.
I am reminded of Maxwell Smart in the Get Smart comedy television series created in the 1960s that parodied secret agents. His shoe phone and the always defective cone of silence equate with our modern cell phones and lack of privacy, a visionary series perhaps of how we bumble through, but, hopefully, the good guys will win.
The recommendations include that companies must undertake to do the right thing (such as being transparent, ethical and protecting our privacy), governments must regulate it, and there must be public education. When the people that know the most about AI and benefit from it agree that there must be oversight, I do not have any problem agreeing, vociferously. It might be acknowledged that we already missed the boat on internet regulation and social media regulation.
My husband’s equivalent to watching C-SPAN is watching the Supreme Court of Canada proceedings on CPAC, the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel. Last week Federal Justice Minister Lametti called him and offered him a position as a Justice of the Alberta Court of King’s Bench, an opportunity to serve Albertans in a new capacity. As a lawyer, he had ultimate selection of the cases he took on. As a judge, he might soon be deciding cases about the regulation of AI tools. One thing I think nobody but the “bad guys” would dispute, we need regulation to ensure online safety of our children.
As we approach the three-year anniversary of my “new” law firm, I want to take a moment to thank the readers who voted for both my firm and me in the Best of Red Deer and we were thrilled to receive a silver award. A special shout out to all our firm members, clients, colleagues and community that have supported us as we create the law firm of the future, as we believe the future is now. Forever grateful, central Alberta is where it’s at, the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in Albertans. AI and all.
Donna Purcell, K.C., (aka Lady Justice) is a Central Alberta lawyer and Chief Innovation Officer with Donna Purcell QC Law. If you have legal questions, contact [email protected].