Paths Untaken

Matthijs Maas, Fachinformationsdienst Für Internationale Und Interdisziplinäre Rechtsforschung
2022 Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional  
If the development of certain technologies, such as advanced, unaligned AI, would be as dangerous as some have suggested, a long-termist legal perspective might advocate a strategy of technological delay -or even restraint-to avoid a default outcome of catastrophe. To many, restraint-a decision to withhold indefinitely from the development, or at least deployment, of the technology-might look implausible. However, history offers a surprising array of cases where strategically promising
more » ... ies were delayed, abandoned, or left unbuilt, even though many at the time perceived their development as inevitable. They range from radiological-and weather weapons to atomic planes, from dozens of voluntarily cancelled state nuclear weapons programs, to a Soviet internet, and more. It is easy to miss these cases, or to misinterpret their causes, in ways that lead us to be too pessimistic about future prospects for restraint. That does not mean that restraint for future technologies like advanced AI will be easy. Yet investigating when and why restraint might be needed, where it is viable, and how legal interventions could contribute to achieving and maintaining it, should be a key pillar within a long-termist legal research portfolio.
doi:10.17176/20220810-061602-0 fatcat:a7f2f3jlgzacnjcbtv2igsi5fe