Portuguese expert in artificial intelligence warns of risks of the new technology

In Europe, the regulatory package for the sector has already been approved, but this legislation will only take effect in two years.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher Luís Moniz Pereira was today concerned about the impact of technology on the labor market and considered that Portugal should be more proactive in regulating the sector.

In Europe, the regulatory package for the sector has already been approved, but this legislation will only take effect in two years, which Moniz Pereira understands to be a problem, in addition to the lack of control mechanisms.

“Any company, any programmer can develop tools that can cause great damage,” he told Lusa, highlighting that the world is also not paying attention to the social impact when large chunks of work are handed over to AI instruments.

“There is a lack of prediction regarding the consequences [of AI] and I am thinking specifically about consequences on unemployment and underemployment”, observed the director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and author of the book Máquinas Éticas.

“Governors and other entities say: some jobs go away, but others are created, but this has not been studied” and “a study is not being carried out on what [the consequences] are, in what quantity and with what probability”, highlighted.

The “philosophy of our time, what matters is making more money, more business, earning as much as possible and that is greed” and AI will allow the emergence of new protagonists, with a great social impact, he considered.

On the other hand, he said, there are many countries that do not have developed tools and we could witness “a new colonialism of information technology and, specifically, of Artificial Intelligence”, with the reduction of local languages ​​or less spoken languages.

As extraordinary as the technology is, there are still only “basic things”, because, in the medium term, AI will replace large segments of the population, he predicted.

AI “enters the cognitive level”, something that “is new even in relation to previous industrial revolutions” and breaks an area that “is still a human monopoly”, explained the head of the Artificial Intelligence Center at Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

In the near future, “this monopoly will be replaced by machines” and, even if people are trained, the number of new jobs will be lower than those that are eliminated.

Furthermore, “who will monitor the application of legislation?” – he asked, highlighting that handing over this responsibility to private mechanisms could be a problem.

Furthermore, the European legislative package “provides for the creation of a monitoring committee in each country” and, in this chapter, Portugal is already behind.

“In Portugal this commission has not yet been appointed, although in other countries it has already been”, he lamented, considering: “we cannot simply wait for Europe to tell us what to do, we also have an obligation to contribute to European opinion” .

On the other hand, the emeritus professor at Universidade Nova believes that regulations should be “tighter”.

“I fear that there could be tragedies”, due to a lack of regulation, he warned, highlighting that growth is being exponential and the legislator is not paying attention to the problem.