04 August 2023
Robot hand reaching out to human hand

Artificial Intelligence (or “AI”) has been a life-changing enabler in many instances, including in the domain name industry. However, as an unregulated space, there is concern over the power of this technology and how it can be used. In this post we discuss the growing complexities of AI, proposed models of regulation, the use of AI in the domain name industry and possible future outcomes.

What is AI and why is it a concern?

Although many sources indicate that it is difficult to define such a rapidly changing technology, Techtarget succinctly describes AI as the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems.

Common tools that use AI include language processing programs such as ChatGPT or automated customer response tools used by many online retailers, which rely on Chatbots to assist customers. While these solutions may make certain elements of everyday life more efficient, they also expose cybersecurity risks, as explained in this post by Alexander Falotovich, Senior Cyber Security Threat Analyst at Identity Digital.

Researchers have demonstrated that AI chatbots can be manipulated to exploit code, write malware, and generate convincing phishing lures. While ChatGPT has safeguards to prevent it from creating cyber-attack tools, it can still generate content that could serve as a phisher’s lure. This is particularly concerning given that over 80% of cyber security breaches in the last year involved social engineering.

Given these risks and despite its role in making some aspects of life more efficient, there is nervousness about the potential dangers of the rapid and unregulated growth of AI. 

This is further demonstrated by The Future of Life Institute’s Open Letter to Pause Giant AI Experiments. The letter explains that careful planning and management is not happening and labs are working constantly to develop technologies that are impossible to understand, predict or control within reason.

Regulation of AI

These concerns help us to understand the importance of AI regulation, and drive us to wonder what is being done about it locally. In their work to administer a trusted .au for all Australians, .au Domain Administration (auDA), has recently shared a blog post which focuses on safe and responsible AI governance in Australia referencing their submission to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources on Supporting responsible AI.

auDA’s view is that AI governance should be shaped to emphasise the importance of using the technology for good. They suggest that the Government should consider both the risks and opportunities that AI poses in adopting a human centric approach to innovation and unlocking positive social and economic value for all Australians.

Regulation of this technology is no easy feat. In exploring the difficulties, this article from The Conversation focuses on why it’s so important to get it right. The article questions whether AI specific regulation is necessary, as many related problems are often already addressed by existing frameworks, which therefore leads direct regulation of AI to fall by the wayside. It also discusses the need for a model that is flexible and adaptable to meet the changing needs of AI, and the possibility of enabling enforcement options such as a traditional Government regulator, similar to auDA’s view.

AI in the domain name industry 

But it is not all scary. AI has also made significant improvements to many industries, including the domain name industry, as explained here by CircleID, where they cite ways AI has allowed the industry to become more efficient and accurate, including:

  • Domain name suggestion and search optimization (use of AI powered domain name generators and optimisation search results based on user behaviour and preferences) 
  • Domain name valuation (based on factors including age, traffic, backlinks)
  • Domain name security (preventing domain fraud and phishing attacks by identifying suspicious behaviour)
  • Domain name portfolio management (providing investors insights on which domains to renew, drop or acquire).

The future of AI

AI is a powerful technology, which is what makes so many of us nervous. With proper regulation and governance of AI tools currently being discussed, we can hope for an outcome that not only leverages the power of AI but protects us from possible harm. Whether this means a pause on the development of advanced programs on a global level or greater local Government input to adopt a model of regulation that is flexible to meet the changing needs of AI, the outcome will be relevant to us all.

If you’re interested in learning more about Internet governance and policy and how emerging technologies are shaping the future, we suggest registering for Australia’s Internet governance forum, NetThing on 28 August and/or the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) on August 29-31

Have a question or comment? Email us at marketing@identitydigital.au today.