The force of AI led innovations can be hugely transformative for economies and societies. But this needs to be done within tightly bound rules of engagement. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The world is rapidly entering the realm of AI, which presents unique economic, social and security challenges that require heavy preparation to take on this technology challenge and avoid unexpected disruptions.

At the forefront of these requirements is legislation to regulate AI-related activities and innovations. Such laws will determine the rights and duties of various stakeholders and establish measures to address violations, thereby averting any potential chaos that may occur from the absence of regulations.

On the financial aspect, AI’s rise is expected to drive greater reliance on ‘smart’ financial and banking services. This is also expected to coincide with a surge in scams and frauds, which already incur significant costs on financial institutions, banks and individuals, leading to a lack of trust in such transactions and without deterrent legislation in place.

This is also associated with prices of services offered, which will be impacted by the market dominance of major tech companies, not only within their respective countries, but also on the global stage. Certain companies hold dominance across sectors, leading to reduced competitiveness and increasing prices to record levels, as seen in the skyrocketing prices of smartphones and gadgets.

Social disruptions too

The lack of legislative regulations on AI can contribute to increased social tensions and security breaches, posing disruption to economic sectors and causing substantial financial losses, such as to the means of transportation, fabrication of events and interfering in election outcomes through misinformation and distortion of facts.

Since AI-related activities are directly linked to innovations, enactment of laws will ensure the protection of intellectual property, especially given the significant advances made in this space by the likes of China, India, Russia and Brazil. There are also the strong indications of substantial investments in next-gen technologies and AI in the GCC countries.

The European Union has taken the lead in enacting the first global law to regulate AI, which was recently approved by the European Parliament. Expected to come into effect in May, this law pre-empts other countries, and aiming to prevent potential repercussions resulting from the absence of such legislation. It addresses the necessity to regulate economic and social life, curb abuses, and bolster security and stability, and providing societies with the necessary protection.

Last week, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved the first international resolution on AI, a major achievement towards regulating the tech and providing societies with the necessary protection.

Integrating AI into legislative frameworks has become necessary as it is now part of life, as said by Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. And given that there are numerous risks from AI’s expansion, some of which have already begun to show up and spread.

GCC’s head-start on AI investments

Since the GCC countries are investing heavily in this space - with agreements with giant tech companies to develop these - it is expected that they will in the next decade emerge as one of the global hubs for AI innovation. This underscores the need a legislative and legal structure to regulate such activities.

The Secretariat-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in coordination with member-states, can commence development of a legislative framework for AI, which will contribute to growing this vital sector of the future and avoid potential negative economic, social and security ramifications.

Establishing an AI legislative framework will enhance confidence in GCC markets and help them attract tech investments and foster stability on economic and social security. Failure to do so may leave societies and individuals vulnerable to exploitation.