February 25th, 2024

With ‘superhuman’ artificial intelligence looming, Canada needs law now: AI pioneer

By The Canadian Press on February 5, 2024.

Yoshua Bengio, founder and scientific director, Mila-Quebec AI Institute, discusses artificial intelligence, democracy and the future of civilization at the C2MTL conference on Wednesday May 24, 2023 in Montreal. Bengio, scientific director at Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, told MPs today the government should move to put in place even an imperfect law that would have some provisions that apply immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

OTTAWA – A top pioneer of artificial intelligence says the federal government must move urgently to regulate the technology, because its current trajectory poses major societal risks.

Yoshua Bengio, dubbed a “godfather” of AI, told members of Parliament today that Ottawa should put a law in place immediately, even if that legislation is not perfect.

The scientific director at Mila, the Quebec AI Institute, says a “superhuman” intelligence that is as smart as a human being could be developed within the next two decades – or even the next few years.

The House of Commons industry committee is studying a Liberal government bill that would update privacy law and begin regulating some artificial intelligence systems.

Bill C-27 was first drafted in 2022 to target what are described as “high-impact” AI systems, but the government says it will amend the bill so it also introduces new rules for generative AI systems like ChatGPT.

The bill as it’s drafted would give the government time to develop regulations, but Bengio says some provisions should take effect right away.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2024.

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