U-M Professors discuss how societal impacts compare to technological advances

By | June 6, 2023

Ross School of Business professor Nigel Melville and Ford School of Public Policy professor Shobita Parthasarathy recently participated in a Faculty Q&A on a U-M podcast, Business and Society with Michigan Ross, to answer questions about the rise of AI and its implications.

Melville and Parthasarathy have studied the popularization of AI, as well as what it means for businesses, our society, and cultures. 

The two share insights on the topic, consider the potential needs or values of declaring a moratorium, and discuss what imposing regulations and performing risk assessments would obtain. 

Both professors agree: we should be less in awe of technological developments and instead focus on the potential risks and benefits these developments bring to society.

“We need guardrails for AI,” Melville said. “We need to decide collectively as a society, what are appropriate guardrails?”

He likens the phenomenon to that of the automotive revolution, before street signs and road signs became expected and standard. He explains how safety measures such as these ease the mind of the public and hold the appropriate business leaders accountable for harms and damages.

Parthasarathy emphasizes this point and adds that education will play an important role in preparing users to deal with these challenges and encouraging accountability. 

Article summarized from the Office of the Vice President for Communications: U-M experts: We need to emphasize AI’s societal impacts over technological advancements.