Sept. 11 (UPI) — Upon returning from summer break this week, Congress will embark on a quest for answers concerning the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is hosting a private “AI Insight Forum” at the Capitol on Wednesday. Esteemed figures from the tech industry, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, as well as emerging talents like OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, have been invited as guests.
The event is not open to the media or the general public, but a list published by Axios in August offers some insight into the comprehensive nature of the forum. While tech sector executives are well-represented, the MIT Technology Review reported a lack of speakers from organizations focused on ethical considerations associated with AI training and usage.
Wednesday will mark the first in a series of planned “listening sessions” as lawmakers strive to comprehend the risks posed by AI and determine the necessary legislation to address them.
In a speech delivered during the summer, Schumer expressed his concerns about AI advancing without proper guidelines, emphasizing the potential dangers and limited opportunities that could arise from such a scenario.
He stated, “This is going to be one of the most significant sessions ever conducted by Congress.”
One of the challenges faced by legislators, in addition to weighing the potential benefits of AI against the risks, is the lack of consensus among tech companies. For example, while Microsoft and OpenAI may agree on the need for government regulation through a single agency, Google and IBM hold differing opinions.
Lawmakers will enter the closed-door meeting on Wednesday with their own priorities and agendas in mind.
Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming remarked that AI innovations may not necessarily originate from individuals like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, but rather from those who acquire technology created by others.
In future meetings, Schumer intends to hear from representatives of labor, human rights, and academic groups to address the potential societal impact of AI.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, has expressed doubts about Schumer’s ability to lead these efforts.
“Schumer uses a flip phone,” McCarthy stated in an interview with NBC earlier this year. “I’m not sure if someone with a flip phone who doesn’t even know how to operate a smartphone should be discussing AI.”
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