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Govt Task Force on AI Must Involve Stakeholders, Says Expert

Harris Zainul of the Institute of Strategic & International Studies warns against knee-jerk reaction to developments in the technology.



An expert has advised the government to tackle current concerns with generative artificial intelligence (AI) and use the technology to improve productivity.


Harris Zainul, an analyst at the Institute of Strategic & International Studies, urged the establishment of a task force involving industry stakeholders, as the issue requires detailed study and handling.


“While we are concerned about the potential harm that generative AI may pose, we should not be technophobic and respond with knee-jerk reaction that could undermine AI’s potential for productivity gains. Striking this balance will be crucial for Malaysia,” he told FMT.


“I recommend that the task force involve stakeholders such as government officials, academics, policy analysts, civil society and private sector representatives.”


Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan urged the government to establish a task force to handle AI-related matters, amid the emergence of a new tool that can generate realistic text-prompted videos.


He expressed his concern that irresponsible parties would use the technology to produce videos or images to attack political opponents or break up society.


Yonhap agency reported that South Korea’s election commission detected AI-generated media content ahead of the April elections.


On Feb 4, the Voice of America website reported that a firm in Hong Kong lost around US$26 million after being deceived by a scammer impersonating as a chief executive using deepfake technology.


Asked if the Penal Code should be reviewed, Harris said the government first has to identify the dangers AI poses to Malaysian citizens.


“With this understanding, we will be able to approach AI regulation in a way that better reflects opportunities and concerns with AI,” he said.


He also said he believed Malaysia has skilled people that are able to handle the risks of AI.


“The government’s challenge is to talk them into discussing and giving their advice on the best way to curb the technology’s pitfalls,” he said.


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