New AI rules for the EU, but the loneliness remains

May 21, 2024, 8:41 PM

The European Union is about to enact strict new rules to try to prevent misuse of Artificial Intell...

The European Union is about to enact strict new rules to try to prevent misuse of Artificial Intelligence. In the U.S. some are questioning assumptions made about A.I., namely in the realm of human companionship and AI loneliness. (iStock access via The Deseret News) The most important thing to remember is that people are not perfect. I think our society expects perfection from everyone, and when someone makes a mistake, they are bashed heavily for it. We are all in this life together. Why not be cheerleaders instead of critics? Let’s get back to basics and remember those little life lessons we were taught as children: treat others the way you want to be treated, put others before yourself, be kind.

(iStock access via The Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Countries within the European Union have endorsed the Union-wide Artificial Intelligence Act, a deal first drafted by the European Commission in 2021. Since then, the legislation has undergone several “key changes,” according to the Reuters News Agency.

The EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act bans the use of AI in:

The above portions of the act are expected to be enacted within six months.  Other aspects of the law, which cover “general purpose AI models” and rules for AI systems that exist within other products, will likely not be implemented until 2026. 

If compared to existing regulations in the United States, the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act is said to pack a stronger punch. Namely, fines for companies that can begin in the millions of dollars.

Thoughtful implementation of technology

Back here at home, scholars, and lawmakers are all trying to absorb and answer the questions emerging as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly a part of our everyday lives.

In her recent discussion with Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson, New York Times writer Jessica Grose described some of what she found when researching a series on educational technology. A portion of the transcript, edited for brevity, is below.

GROSE: While I was researching this ed tech series, I found an article from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz called “It’s Not a Computer, It’s a Companion!” I found this to be one of the more disturbing things that I had ever read.

It tried to argue that one day AI will be better than a real girlfriend,

MATHESON:  What could possibly go wrong there?


GROSE: And I started thinking more about what relationships really are and what loneliness really is. … There’s some evidence that there are more older people living alone, are not part of communities. There’s some suggestion that lifelike robots, chat bots, may help them to feel less lonely.

Chatbots and loneliness

I feel that really misunderstands what loneliness is. A broadly accepted definition is that loneliness is an embodied feeling. People will miss human touch, hugs. This feeling is a signal to your brain and your body that you need to go out and connect with other humans.

Chat bots could potentially blunt that urge. (They can) make you feel entertained or not bored enough to blunt that desire to go out and meet actual humans.

MATHESON:  Human interaction can’t be replaced by anything, as you said, other than another human being.

GROSE:  Humans are surprising, and they’re complicated. Even as sophisticated as a chatbot might get, you can’t have the same sort of responsiveness, feeling, and real engagement that you have when you’re connecting with people in the public sphere. And, not just people that you already know. 

I talked to Eric Klinenberg, who is a sociologist. He has written multiple books about social connectedness. He talks about these little interactions that we have throughout our day. With the clerk at the grocery store, with somebody walking down the street that you say hello to. Those make us feel part of the fabric of the community that a chatbot just can’t.

(The entire podcast can be heard above or by visiting the KSL NewsRadio podcast page.)

Inside Sources can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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New AI rules for the EU, but the loneliness remains