Global Tech Leaders Discuss AI Regulation in Washington

This week in AI, we head to Washington D.C. where tech leaders are discussing the necessity for legislation around the use of AI technology.

9 months ago   •   3 min read

By Mike Sak

This week in AI, we head to Washington D.C. where tech leaders are discussing the necessity for legislation around the use of AI technology.

It was a historic day of meetings on Wednesday as the who's who of tech icons met at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The group was headlined by Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Palantir CEO Alex Karp, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and HuggingFace CEO Clement Delangue.

The summit was organized to discuss the urgent need for the US government to pass legislation that regulates the usage of AI. Elon Musk has been a strong advocate for regulating AI and was quoted as saying that...

AI development is potentially harmful to all humans everywhere. - Elon Musk

Musk also asked for the government to establish a Federal Department of AI to help monitor the rapidly evolving industry.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has also recently appeared before Congress asking for government regulation. Altman, whose company founded the popular LLM ChatGPT late last year, has stated "We need government to lead, and we look forward to partnering with you."

According to people who were in attendance, there was an overwhelming desire for the industry to be regulated. The discussion was led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who called the experience historic and exhilarating. Schumer said that every single person in the room raised their hands when he asked them about government regulation of AI.

Over the past year, AI has rapidly spread across nearly every industry in the world. There have been concerns about how fast AI has been utilized, causing fears of irreparable consequences. Some of these include mass layoffs for humans as well as a rise in AI being used for malicious criminal activity like fraud.

There has also been notable criticism of companies who have been taking part in a form of information gathering called scraping. This involves sending bots out to scrape information from prominent websites which companies, like OpenAI, use to train their AI technology. Several companies have banned OpenAI's scrapers including Amazon, CNN, and the New York Times.

It wasn't all good news from Wednesday's meeting as Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized the closed-door nature of the summit. Warren said that US Senators would have liked to be able to ask the tech leaders questions during the meeting. It was also noted that although everyone present agreed that US legislation was needed, each leader also had very different views and strategies for the future of AI.

What was evident from the gathering is that there needs to be some form of federal government intervention in AI, before things get out of hand. It was a telling sign that these CEOs all advocated for regulation, given that many of these companies will earn billions of dollars from the progression of AI technology. Musk and Altman in particular have been very vocal about controlling AI development, with Musk notably calling the worst-case future for AI as the Terminator-scenario.

Back in July, Musk launched his own company called xAI which would seek out AI solutions that would benefit mankind. Although there was hype around the announcement of the company, as there often is with anything Musk is involved in, there has been little word about what xAI is working on.

No official decisions have been made from the summit although Democratic Senator Cory Booker mentioned that it has been all but decided that the federal government will have a role in the development of AI. Booker also mentioned that while legislation and regulation are needed, it will be difficult to create something that appeases everyone.

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