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Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart Dust Technologies

Internet of Things is more extensive than the Internet itself. It constitutes the combination of all electronic devices that are connected on the web and are able to communicate with each other. It is different from the Internet because it is essentially governed by information that is stored by electronic devices without human intervention. Now, smart devices can be connected through complex network systems and embedded sensors. These smart devices include, phones, refrigerators, thermostats, automobiles, or pills that allow medical professionals monitor a patient’s health status. These technological advancements enable smart devices to communicate in real time and promote the process of developing a more intelligent environment.

Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence demonstrated by machines in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. It allows machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks.  It relies heavily on deep learning and natural language processing. It uses neural networks which are a combination of software and hardware devices that are designed to emulate the operation of neurons in the human brain.

Smart Dust is a system of tiny microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) such as sensors or robots that detect light, temperature, vibration, magnetism, or chemicals. They are usually operated on a computer network wirelessly and distributed over an area to perform tasks by sensing through radio-frequency identification. This technology is able to collect and transmit data which can be uploaded to the cloud or other remote location.

What are the major concerns?

First, privacy is one of the major concerns. For example, privacy may be compromised by the bad actors (e.g., hackers) by infiltrating the currently available technologies – e.g., sensors, wearable devices, or drones. In today’s world, sensors are installed in electronic devices to collect and process information. Wearable devices are designed to enable constant access to electronic devices. Drones, which are flying robots can be utilized by military and non-military personnel. Drones include Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) which are remotely-piloted autonomous systems. These sophisticated devices collect and process data and may be used for covert or non-covert operations.

Second, security is a major concern. We know that smart devices can store information and communicate with each other on various levels. We are capable of controlling information from a single device that has been synchronized with other electronic devices. Moreover, smart devices are able to synchronize the stored information with other devices in order to share, backup, or restore information which may include personal and confidential data.  Therefore, security measures (e.g., encryption, firewall, intrusion detection system, multi-factor authentication) must be implemented to avoid unnecessary complications.

Third, regulation is another major concern that has challenged the lawmakers. It is no secret that the criminals are able to use various tools and techniques to obtain access to electronic devices that store confidential information. There have been a series of incidents in the past that confirm this point. For example, in July 2015, Fiat Chrysler was forced to recall its vehicles as a result of a major breach caused by hackers when they accessed the vehicle dashboard connectivity system commonly known as “Uconnect.” Hence, cybercrime is a major problem that should be addressed by the government. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) holds public meetings on these topics. It has held public workshops to investigate consumer privacy and security issues. Moreover, the European Commission has been on the forefront of implementing new policies and procedures. It has launched the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation to encourage the technological ecosystem. It has adopted the Digital Single Market Strategy in order to accelerate technological developments.

Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics have been instrumental in the development of artificial intelligence laws. First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Second Law: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. These three laws of robotics should be understood and complied with by all interested parties – e.g., users, manufacturers, service providers, government agencies, and legislators in order to avoid conflicting results. At this time, the following legislation intends to regulate artificial intelligence: (1) Self Drive Act; (2) AV Start Act; and (3) Future of Artificial Intelligence Act.

The Self Drive Act creates a role for the federal government to ensure the safety of highly automated vehicles by encouraging proper testing and deployment. A “highly automated vehicle” is a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, that is equipped with an automated driving system capable of performing dynamic driving tasks on a sustained basis. This statute prohibits the states from enacting laws regarding the design, construction, or performance of these vehicles or driving systems unless they enact standards identical to federal standards.

The AV Start Act is a bipartisan Senate companion that addresses driverless vehicles. It establishes a framework for a federal role in ensuring the safety of highly automated vehicles (HAVs). It prohibits the states from adopting, maintaining, or enforcing any law, rule, or standard that regulates an HAV or automated driving system (ADS) regarding certain safety evaluation report subject areas. It sets conditions under which these vehicles or driving systems may be introduced into interstate commerce for testing, evaluation, or demonstration.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence Act is a bipartisan Senate bill that is intended to establish an advisory committee for artificial intelligence issues. It directs the Department of Commerce to establish the Federal Advisory Committee on the development and implementation of artificial intelligence to advise on matters relating to the development of artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence laws address the rights and responsibilities of the product manufacturers or service providers and their users. It’s important to realize that neural networks store a large amount of information that’s inserted into an algorithm and used to create an output. So, regulating these transactions is another challenge. Moreover, much autonomy is given to objects that operate by using artificial intelligence. As such, the regulators will be struggling with the legal issues. In fact, the White House has launched www.whitehouse.gov/ai in order to educate the public.

Also, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) focuses on the unlawful storage of personal data, the storage of inaccurate personal data, or the abuse or unauthorized disclosure of personal data. Its members (e.g., Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, United States) have already passed legislation. They have participated in the development of guidelines that promote the standardization of national privacy legislation and prevent international data flow interruptions. These guidelines promote data privacy in order to ensure data is collected with the owner’s consent through fair and lawful methods. Hence, it would be practical if the same principles would be uniformly promulgated and enforced by the members.  In conclusion, the legal system should focus on the interaction of electronic devices and how it can properly enact and enforce practical laws. Furthermore, the legal system should implement uniform laws that would effectively protect the public.