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AI guru Yoshua Bengio says regulation too slow, warns of ‘existential’ threats

MONTREAL — Artificial intelligence pioneer Yoshua Bengio says regulation in Canada is on the right path, but advancing along it far too slowly.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, the Université de Montréal professor said he backed a bill tabled in the House of Commons last June that adopts a more general, principles-based approach to AI guardrails and leaves details to a later date.

Ottawa has said the act known as Bill C-27 will come into force no sooner than 2025, a timeline Bengio deemed far too slow.

He is calling on the federal government to begin rolling out rules immediately against certain threats, such as the so-called counterfeiting of humans using AI-driven bots.

Addressing a creative business conference Wednesday, Bengio warned that AI systems, including those that incorporate tools from large language models such as ChatGPT, pose an existential risk.

Criticized as vague by some legal experts, the Liberals’ Artificial Intelligence and Data Act lays out a framework for responsible AI development that aims for agility amid the technology’s constant evolution, while banning malicious use and establishing an oversight body and financial penalties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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