Letter: Don’t base state laws of AI misconceptions


Reading the Whidbey-Times, I came across something I consider a bit scary. “Oak Harbor Rep. Shavers seeks to regulate Artificial Intelligence in Washington Legislature.” Artificial intelligence, or AI, is in the news frequently, but common sense needs to prevail.

The first part of my concern is that Clyde Shavers is a politician with his main background as a public affairs person in the Navy. If you do not know what a public affairs person job is a basic definition would be they control the news in and out of the Navy. While that is an important job it in no way provides the background or skill to write any bills regarding technology.

Clyde says, “Artificial intelligence has the potential to spread discrimination, create child pornography and generally act in an unethical manner.”

The article further states: “AI can be used to sift through thousands of applications to save time for an employer, Shavers said. The algorithm has the potential for biased selection if one type of background is preferred over another.”

Had Clyde had a technological background he would have known that a simple search algorithm on any database of information would extract all the information he is professing as an AI issue. Yes, AI could be used to create search algorithms, but people would have to create the scenario.

Secondly, AI has been around for years. The key for AI is its learning ability based on other inputs and data. My wife’s new RAM pickup instructions were to not use the cruise control for the first 500 miles, as I remember, while the system learns your driving habits. I am not a pilot, but I suspect autopilots have some built in AI as well.

As I said before, AI is in the news frequently, but it is important that lawmakers do not create laws based on misconception of use based on their lack of technical knowledge. Unfortunately, this happens a lot now. It is important for voters to ask questions when the government wants to control something. The trend in Washington seems to be what the state can control. Residents must: pay for bags in stores, buy electric vehicles, only buy free range chicken eggs, with rent control, only electric stoves, etc. just in the past year. And now lets control AI so no one uses it to search a database instead of an algorithm to obtain the same information.

Terry Sparks

Oak Harbor