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Artificial Intelligence: The Existential Threat and Regulation - Regulate or Perish

By Chris Griffith     Updated Feb 29, 2024

Just as post-war Australia stood at a pivotal moment with its 'Populate or Perish' campaign, the global community now faces a similar crossroads with artificial intelligence (AI). Regulation is essential to harness the potential of AI while safeguarding against its risks.

1. AI at the Crossroads: Regulation Imperative

As nations stand at the precipice of the digital age, we recognize the dire need to regulate burgeoning digital technologies such as AI. Without rules and universally accepted standards, society may suffer from the unchecked consequences of these technologies.

While companies continue to innovate responsibly in the AI space, there is a broader societal need for trust and assurance that these technologies are being used for the greater good.

AI, with its generative capabilities, poses significant challenges—flaws in digital tech regulation have already shown us the pitfalls of drift without deliberate action, as demonstrated by the privacy trade-offs of free software.

2. The Regulatory Quagmire: Lessons from the Past

Governments have historically struggled to regulate digital tech effectively, as seen with issues such as tax havens, where despite OECD efforts, implementation of fair tax practices remains arduous.

Similarly, satellite space regulation proves to be an ongoing challenge with the rapid increase in satellite numbers, raising the stakes for potential collisions and lack of uniform end-of-life de-orbiting policies.

These cases highlight the sluggish and often frustrating pace of global tech regulation, emphasizing the need for more proactive and efficient approaches in managing the risks of AI.

3. AI's Existential Threat: A Timely Warning

The notion of AI as an existential threat is not new, with concerns raised over its role in medical errors, online manipulation, and amplifying misinformation. The recent statement by OpenAI executives and others has reignited these fears.

AI has the potential to be both a powerful ally in human progress and a weapon of destruction, particularly in autonomous warfare and the specter of intelligent machines acting without human guidance.

While the debate on AI's existential threat rages on, a balanced view that encourages the use and regulation of AI for positive outcomes is crucial, keeping in mind the necessary cautions against its darker uses.

4. AI Regulation: A Global Concern

The imperative to regulate AI touches on public cohesion and national security, echoing the dangers of misinformation in eroding societal trust and sparking conflict.

The international community must collaborate on developing global regulations and standards for AI. These should cover data privacy, intellectual property protection, system accuracy, and more to build a foundation of trust in AI technology.

With AI's pervasive influence, we face the dual tasks of addressing potential future threats while also managing the present-day opportunities and challenges, urging a swift and considered global regulatory response.


In the fast-paced world of technology, AI's breakthroughs cast both long shadows of threat and gleaming rays of opportunity. Effective global regulation is imperative to steer clear of the risks—be they invasions of privacy, societal disruption, or digital manipulation. Regulate we must, lest we perish under the unchecked dominion of AI.