Andreessen Horowitz will pay politicians to deregulate AI and crypto

Prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)’s co-founder, Ben Horowitz, has announced that the company would start lobbying in the US to ensure that the growth of new technologies, including AI and crypto, is not obstructed by regulations and policies.

“If a candidate supports an optimistic technology-enabled future, we are for them. If they want to choke off important technologies, we are against them,” Ben Horowitz said in a recent blog post.

While Horowitz claimed that this would be the first time the company has decided to involve itself in political lobbying directly, the firm organized a fund-raiser for a New York Congressman for pro-crypto policies in October 2022.

At the same time, Horowitz said in the blog that the firm is not completely against regulations. “As we’ve seen with Internet regulation in the 1990s, high-quality regulation can enable an industry to thrive while protecting consumers. However, as we’ve seen with the regulation of nuclear power, misguided and politicized regulation can kill an industry and greatly exacerbate problems like climate change,” the blog said.

He also suggested that “misguided regulatory policy” will negatively impact America’s “global technology leadership.” In addition, Horowitz said that while “big tech” firms are well represented, they are concerned about “preserving their monopolies” and not about ensuring “fair regulation.”

“However, our regulatory regime and processes are built based on a model of crude industrial revolution-era technologies. As a result, we risk harming far more people than we save with our ‘safety’ measures,” Horowitz said in the blog.

Ensuring legislation in favor of AI and crypto would be beneficial for a16z as its portfolio firms include several AI and crypto startups, including Ciitizen, Coinbase, alchemy, Cryptoys, and

Earlier this year, the company’s co-founder Marc Andreessen posted a Techno-Optimist Manifesto, which advocates unregulated development of the technologies. For instance, it said, “Any deceleration of AI will cost lives. Deaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder.”

To regulate or not to regulate AI

A16z’s decision to lobby for unregulated development of new technologies comes close to the US presidential elections scheduled in the coming year. In addition, the US is working on the rules to regulate AI as more and more organizations adopt AI-powered systems to boost productivity efficiency.

Some American cities and states have already passed laws limiting the use of AI. In addition, President Joe Biden recently asked government agencies to evaluate AI products to ensure they are not a threat to the country’s security. As per this order, the leading technology companies, like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, will need to share test results on their new models to the Government before they are released to the public. 

Earlier this month, the European Union (EU) emerged as the first major power to have reached a landmark deal to regulate AI systems that involves categorizing the risks, ensuring transparency, and penalizing in case the rules are not adhered to.

There is a growing debate on whether AI should or should not be regulated. On one end, there is a belief that AI is dangerous to humanity and must be regulated, while others believe that it should be allowed to develop since it promises to bring social and economic benefits to society.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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