Tech Titans Share AI Insights with Senators in Closed Forum


For months, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has talked about completing a seemingly impossible task: passing bipartisan legislation within the next year that simultaneously stimulates the fast development of artificial intelligence while also mitigating its most serious hazards. On Wednesday, he will host a meeting with some of the country’s most renowned technology leaders, among others, to discuss how Congress should proceed.

The Capitol Hill discussion will feature over two dozen tech leaders and activists, as well as some of the industry’s greatest names, including Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, CEO of X and Tesla, as well as former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. The public is not invited, but all 100 senators are.

Schumer, D-N.Y., who is co-chairing the discussion with Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, will not necessarily follow the advise of the tech leaders as he works with Republicans and other Democrats to assure some control of the booming industry. But he hopes they will provide senators with some practical guidance as he attempts to achieve what Congress hasn’t done in many years: approve significant regulation of the internet industry.

“It’s going to be a fascinating group because they have different points of view,” Schumer said ahead of the event in an interview with The Associated Press. “Hopefully, we can weave it into a little bit of some broad consensus.”

Rounds, who talked with Schumer on Tuesday, said Congress has to move ahead of fast-moving AI by ensuring technology continues to advance “on the positive side” while also addressing possible data transparency and privacy problems.

“AI is not going away, and it can do some really good things or be a real challenge,” Rounds added.

According to Schumer, regulating artificial intelligence will be “one of the most difficult issues we can ever take on,” and he lists the reasons why: It’s technically complex, always evolving, and “has such a wide, broad effect across the entire world,” he says.

When it comes to regulating technology, Congress has a dismal track record. Lawmakers have numerous options, many of which are bipartisan, but they have mainly failed to reach an agreement on substantial legislation to regulate the business because strong internet giants have opposed.

Many lawmakers refer to the inability to approve any social media regulation – ideas that would better protect children, regulate election activities, and demand higher privacy standards, among other things, have stagnated in both chambers.

“We don’t want to do what we did with social media, which was to let the technologists figure it out and then fix it,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said of the AI effort.

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Senators Heinrich, Young Lead Bipartisan Efforts on AI Expansion and Ethical Considerations

For months, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has talked about completing a seemingly impossible task: passing bipartisan legislation within the next year that simultaneously stimulates the fast development of artificial intelligence while also mitigating its most serious hazards.

Rounds, Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana are members of Schumer’s bipartisan working group, which is hoping that the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence will create additional urgency. Businesses across various industries have been demanding to use new generative AI tools that can write human-like passages of prose, program computer code, and produce innovative visuals, music, and video since the introduction of ChatGPT less than a year ago. The buzz around such technologies has heightened concerns about their potential social effects, prompting calls for greater openness in how the data behind the new products is acquired and handled.

“You have to have some government involvement for guardrails,” Schumer stated. “Who knows what could happen if there are no guardrails?”

According to Schumer, the conference on Wednesday will focus on major themes like whether the government should be involved at all and what questions Congress should be asking. Each participant will get three minutes to talk on a topic of their choice, and in the morning and afternoon, Schumer and Rounds will oversee free conversations among the participants.

Some of Schumer’s most important guests, like Musk and Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, have expressed more serious fears, echoing popular science fiction about mankind losing power to sophisticated AI systems if proper protections are not put in place.

However, for many politicians and the constituents they represent, the impacts of AI on employment and navigating a deluge of AI-generated disinformation are more imminent.

According to a recent analysis from market research firm Forrester, generative AI technology might replace 2.4 million jobs in the United States by 2030, many of which are white-collar positions that have not been harmed by earlier waves of automation. According to the analysis, 90,000 jobs might be lost this year alone, albeit much more will be altered than destroyed.

AI specialists have also expressed concern about the rising ability of AI-generated internet misinformation to influence elections, especially the forthcoming presidential election in 2024.

On the bright side, Rounds says he would want to see new medical technology empowered to save lives and provide medical practitioners with greater data. Rounds describes the subject as “very personal to me,” as his wife died of cancer two years ago.

Many members of Congress think that legislation will very certainly be required in reaction to the rapid escalation of artificial intelligence capabilities in government, industry, and everyday life. However, there is little agreement on what that should be or what could be required. There is also significant disagreement: some members are concerned about overregulation, while others are concerned about the potential consequences of an unrestrained business.

“I’m involved in this process to ensure that we act, but not more boldly or broadly than the circumstances require,” says Sen. Young, a member of Schumer’s working group. “We should be skeptical of government, which is why I believe it’s critical that you have Republicans on board.”

Schumer has told Young that he will be “hypersensitive to overshooting as we address some of the potential harms of AI.”

Some Republicans have been skeptical of following in the footsteps of the European Union, which approved the world’s first comprehensive set of artificial intelligence guidelines in June. The EU’s AI Act would control every product or service that employs an AI system and classify it into four degrees of risk, ranging from minor to unacceptable.

A group of enterprises has urged EU officials to reconsider the restrictions, warning that they would make it more difficult for companies in the 27-nation bloc to compete with rivals in the use of generative AI.

Most large tech corporations in the United States have indicated support for AI legislation, albeit they don’t always agree on what that entails.

“We’ve always said that we believe AI should be regulated,” said Dana Rao, general counsel and chief trust officer at Adobe. “We’ve been talking about this with Europe for the last four years, helping them think through the AI Act they’re about to pass.” There are high-risk AI use cases in which we believe the government has a responsibility to play in ensuring public and consumer safety.”

Adobe, the maker of Photoshop and the new AI image-generator Firefly, is proposing its own federal legislation: a “anti-impersonation” measure to safeguard artists and AI developers from the use of generative AI technologies to create derivative works without the creator’s agreement.

Senators insist that, despite the odds, they will find a way to regulate the business.

“Make no mistake about it. There will be rules and regulations. “The only question is how soon and what,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at a hearing on legislation he co-authored with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri on Tuesday.

Blumenthal’s approach proposes a new “licensing regime” that would force tech firms to get licenses for high-risk AI systems. It would also establish an independent monitoring council led by experts, as well as hold firms accountable when their goods violate privacy or civil rights or threaten the public.

“What we need to do here is risk-based rules and risk management,” Blumenthal said.


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Source: ABC News

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