On Tuesday, senators will quiz OpenAI CEO Sam Altman about the “threats and promises” of artificial intelligence to better understand this rapidly emerging technology and introduce some sort of regulatory regime for it.
Altman will testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law in what will be his first time as a witness at a congressional public hearing. His testimony comes several weeks after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said he was working on a draft regulation, and several members of the House and Senate have spoken about the need for traffic rules for AI.
Subcommittee members have made it clear over the past week that they want to learn more about AI to ensure it is used safely and responsibly. Top Republican on the subcommittee Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told Fox News Digital Monday he was concerned about what role AI could play in the upcoming election cycle.
“We need to understand the reach of AI and what it means. I mean, I want to know if we can hold free, open and honest elections in this country in the future? Or will AI control the information we receive as voters so much that we are basically fed everything by some algorithm and the people who control it?” asked Hawley.
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He said the possibility of economic unrest and job losses is another issue for Congress to consider.
“I want to better understand what it means for work,” Hawley said. “I mean, does that mean that AI will soon replace workers — I’m particularly worried about workers — and gobble up jobs that should belong to our workers in this country?”
“This notion that we can just trust big tech to do the right thing is ridiculous. I mean, we’ve seen that on social media now. “Just trust us,” they’ve been saying for years while poisoning our children with their imagery and depictions of suicide and tempting them into substance abuse,” Hawley added.
Subcommittee chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in announcing the event, “Artificial intelligence is in dire need of rules and safeguards to address its immense promises and pitfalls.”
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“With this hearing begins the work of our subcommittee in monitoring and elucidating the advanced algorithms and powerful technology of AI. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we explore meaningful standards and principles to help us navigate this uncharted territory,” added Blumenthal.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., another member of the subcommittee, said she plans to interview Altman about AI’s impact on content creators, particularly the music industry.
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“One topic that Tennesseans care most about is how generative AI is impacting the entertainment industry, especially songwriters and musicians. Content creators who call Tennessee their home should be able to choose whether their copyrighted songs, images, and artwork can be used to train AI models, or whether their voice and likeness can be used,” Blackburn said in one statement sent by email.
“I plan to ask Altman how he intends to protect content creators in the development of his AI products. We know that big tech platforms like YouTube embrace copyrighted content without much hesitation – we need to make sure OpenAI and other AI platforms don’t,” she said.
The other witnesses at the hearing are Christina Montgomery, IBM’s chief privacy and trust officer, and New York University professor emeritus Gary Marcus.
In addition to testifying before the Senate on Tuesday, Altman is also expected to hold a private briefing on AI for members of the House of Representatives.
Altman’s latest high-profile visit to Washington coincided with an invitation from Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss AI at the White House alongside CEOs of Google, Microsoft and Anthropic.
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In a statement sent out after that meeting, the White House revealed that President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance “to underscore that companies have a fundamental responsibility to ensure their products are safe and secure before they are deployed or released.” “.
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