Cover: Licensing Frontier AI Development

Licensing Frontier AI Development

Legal Considerations and Best Practices

Published in: The Lawfare Institute website (2024)

Posted on rand.org Feb 7, 2024

by Gregory Smith

Licensing of AI models and their developers may be an effective option for frontier AI regulation. However, the impact and efficacy of an AI licensing regime will depend heavily on the details, from the regulation's (or regulations') scope and specific requirements to its resourcing and implementation. Regulatory loopholes, underspecification of regulatory requirements, or poor implementation that creates an ineffective or technically incompetent agency or misguided authorities for an existing agency could leave critical gaps and fail to address extant and emerging national security threats. At the same time, sprawling and excessively complex regulatory burdens or overbroad restrictions could lock in the dominance of a handful of powerful companies or unnecessarily halt progress, damaging America's global AI position and, therefore, its broader technological position. To properly strike this balance, policymakers crafting an AI licensing regime would need to carefully consider what rules the regime would apply to each major component of the frontier AI lifecycle, from the large computing cluster needed for training through to model deployment. Any effective regime must also include an empowered regulatory body that has the resources and expertise to carefully monitor this rapidly emerging technology.

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