The role of the market and private industry in the governance of artificial intelligence is part of the larger, perennial issue of the role of private companies in society. It would be preferable for several reasons if the firms that are developing and marketing AI systems were largely self-governing and regarded the wider effects of their products and services as they develop them. Many technology firms have adopted principles and internal systems for ensuring that AI applications are used in ethical ways. However, the need for capital to engage in AI cutting-edge research and development is pressing. And as is true with all for-profit businesses, market imperatives and legal doctrines such as shareholder primacy mean that private firms are not constructed to act in ways that are always in the public interest. Hence there is a need for other forms of governance that come from outside the firm, particularly because firms and industry associations have substantial power to shape the norms that govern them.

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