From reading emails to personalizing social media feeds and analyzing data, artificial intelligence is already a part of our everyday lives. But as the technology progresses at an accelerated rate, many industry leaders have become concerned that it’s moving too fast, with some top U.S. officials promising a multinational approach to regulation.

Daron Acemoglu, an economics professor at MIT, told Greater Boston that instead of worrying about AI causing humankind's downfall, we should focus on more immediate threats.

“It [human extinction] exaggerates the capabilities of the current technologies,” said Acemoglu, “and makes us shift the focus from the more mundane damage that these new models are likely to cause in terms of misinformation, job displacement, democratic threats and all sorts of small things that are going to be part of our lives if rolled out in an uncontrolled and unregulated manner.”

AI hype excites investors while worrying tech competitors. Aleksander Mądry, the director of MIT’s Center for Deployable Machine Learning, said this hype alternates between optimism about what AI can do and its existential risks, without discussing how to regulate and integrate AI into our daily lives.

“With much of our society driven by informational spaces — in particular social media and online media in general — AI and, in particular, generative AI accelerates a lot of problems like misinformation, spam, spear phishing and blackmail,” said Mądry.

The fact AI technology touches on every aspect of society makes regulation that much trickier.

“I think we should think of reforms of the AI community more broadly so that AI researchers actually work in using these technologies in human-friendly ways, trying to make humans more empowered and more productive,” said Acemoglu.