Can Socially-Minded Governance Control the AGI Beast?

15 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2024

See all articles by Joshua S. Gans

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Date Written: November 28, 2023


This paper robustly concludes that it cannot. A model is constructed under idealised conditions that presume the risks associated with artificial general intelligence (AGI) are real, that safe AGI products are possible, and that there exist socially-minded funders who are interested in funding safe AGI even if this does not maximise profits. It is demonstrated that a socially-minded entity formed by such funders would not be able to minimise harm from AGI that might be created by unrestricted products released by for-profit firms. The reason is that a socially-minded entity has neither the incentive nor ability to minimise the use of unrestricted AGI products in ex post competition with for-profit firms and cannot preempt the AGI developed by for-profit firms ex ante.

Keywords: artificial general intelligence, existential risk, governance, social objectives

JEL Classification: O36

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S., Can Socially-Minded Governance Control the AGI Beast? (November 28, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )



NBER ( email )

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