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Will Canada’s New Voluntary AI Code Hinder Innovation?

AI | Oct 2, 2023

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Federal Minister François-Philippe Champagne launches voluntary code of conduct for advanced generative AI systems but some are wondering if this a step forward will hinder innovation?

On September 27, Minister Champagne announced Canada's Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Responsible Development and Management of Advanced Generative AI Systems, effective immediately.  The new code of conduct revolves around several key principles around transparency, bias, oversight and detectability.

  • AI systems must be clear about where and how the information they collect is used.
  • There should be methods in place to tackle potential biases within the system.
  • Human monitoring of AI systems is essential.
  • Developers creating generative AI for public use must ensure that any content produced by their system can be identified.

Minister Champagne emphasized the urgency of implementing measures to foster trust in AI products.

I think that if you ask people in the street, they want us to take action now to make sure that we have specific measures that companies can take now to build trust in their AI products.

Mixed Reactions

While there's been significant support from major players in the business sector, concerns have also been raised. Some fear that the code, even in its voluntary form, could stifle innovation and hamper Canadian companies' ability to compete on a global scale. For instance, Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, expressed his reservations about the code, emphasizing the need for more builders rather than referees in Canada.

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The voluntary nature of the code has led to diverse opinions. While some view it as a precursor to more stringent regulations, others see it as a flexible framework that can adapt to the rapidly evolving AI landscape. As Canada continues to navigate the complexities of AI development and its implications, it remains to be seen how this code will shape the nation's AI future.

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