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Tech executives and lawmakers agree that the new artificial intelligence. The system should be regulated. How this will happen is unclear.
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Cecilia Kang, who is in charge of technology policy, called from Washington.
The tone of the congressional debates in which tech executives have engaged over the past few years can best be described as hostile. Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and other tech luminaries were vilified on Capitol Hill by lawmakers angry at their companies.
But on Tuesday, Sam Altman, the chief executive of San Francisco startup OpenAI, testified before members of a Senate subcommittee and largely agreed with them that increasingly powerful AI should be regulated. His company, along with others such as Google and Microsoft, is developing the technology.
In his first testimony before CongressMr AltmanLawmakers are urged to regulate artificial intelligence as committee members learn more about the technology. Hearing highlights deep unease about AI among technologists and governmentspossible damageThe discomfort, however, did not extend to Mr. Altman, who has a friendly audience among subcommittee members.
The appearance of Mr. Altman, a 38-year-old technology entrepreneur who dropped out of Stanford University, marked his acceptance of the baptism of artificial intelligence leaders. During the three-hour hearing, the boyish-looking Mr. Altman changed into his usual sweater and jeans for a blue suit and tie.
Altman also spoke about his company's technology at a dinner with dozens of House members on Monday night and met with several senators privately ahead of the hearing, according to people who attended the dinner and meeting. It provides a loose framework for guiding what happens next in rapidly evolving systems that some argue can fundamentally change the economy.
"I think if the technology goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong. We want to be very vocal about that," he said. "We want to work with the government to prevent this from happening."
When Mr. Altman became interested in artificial intelligence, he made his public debut on Capitol Hill. exploded. Despite growing concerns about the role of artificial intelligence, tech giants have poured energy and billions of dollars into what they see as transformative technologiesspread misinformation, destroying jobs, one daycorresponding to human intelligence.
That puts the technology in the spotlight in Washington. President Biden Testifies This MonthMeet with a group of business leaders"What you do has great potential and danger" by the A.I. company. Congressional leaders have also pledged to create AI regulations.
Members of the Senate Privacy, Technology and Legal Affairs Subcommittee had no intention of scrutinizing Mr. Altman, which was evident because they thanked Mr. Altman for meeting them privately and for agreeing to testify. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, called Mr. Altman by first name several times.
IBM's chief privacy and trust officer, Christina Montgomery, and Gary Marcus, a prominent professor and frequent critic of AI, also participated in Mr Altman's hearing. technology.
Mr Altman said his company's technology could destroy some jobs but also create new ones, and "it's important for the government to understand how we plan to mitigate this," according to one of the Ph.D. Marcus' idea is to create an agency that empowers large-scale AI development. Models, safety rules, and tests for A.I. Models must pass before they can be released to the public.
"We believe the benefits of the tools we have used to date far outweigh the risks, but keeping them safe is critical to our work," Mr Altman said.
However, it is unclear how lawmakers will respond to calls for AI regulation. Congress has a poor record on technology regulations. Dozens of privacy, expression and safety bills have failed over the past decade amid partisan infighting and fierce opposition from tech giants.
The US lags behind globally when it comes to privacy, expression and child protection regulations. It also lags behind artificial intelligence. Regulation.EU lawmakersRegulations for the technology are expected to be introduced later this year. China created artificial intelligence. The law complies with its censorship laws.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Senate committee, said the hearing was the first in a series aimed at learning more about the potential strengths and weaknesses of artificial intelligence. Eventually "write the rules for it".
He also acknowledged that Congress has failed to keep pace with the introduction of new technologies in the past. "Our goal is to demystify these new technologies and hold them accountable to avoid some of the mistakes of the past," Blumenthal said. "Congress missed the moment on social media."
Subcommittee members proposed an independent AI watchdog; rules forcing companies to disclose how their models work and what datasets they use; and antitrust rules to prevent companies like Microsoft and Google from monopolizing a new market.
“It’s the details that make the difference,” said Sarah Myers West, executive director of the AI Now Institute, a policy research center. She said Mr Altman's regulatory proposals did not go far enough and should include restrictions on how artificial intelligence could be used. It is used for police work and the use of biometric data. She noted that Mr. Altman showed no signs of slowing down the development of OpenAI's ChatGPT tool.
"It's so ironic to see people worry about harm and quickly commercialize a system that is responsible for the harm itself," Ms West said.
Some representatives also attended the debatePermanent Gaps in Technical KnowledgeBetween Washington and Silicon Valley. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham repeatedly asked witnesses whether the liability protections for speech on online platforms like Facebook and Google also applied to artificial intelligence.
Calm and composed, Mr. Altman tried several times to choose between artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence. Distinct from AI. and social media. "We had to work together to find a whole new approach," he said.
Some members of the subcommittee also said they did not want to be too harsh on an industry that offers the United States great economic prospects and competes directly with rivals such as China.
The Chinese are creating artificial intelligence. Delaware Democrat Chris Coons said it "reinforces the core values of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese system." "I worry about how we promote AI to strengthen and strengthen open markets, open societies and democracy."
Some of the toughest questions and comments from Mr. Altman came from Dr. Marcus, who pointed out that OpenAI was not transparent about the data it used to develop its system. He cast doubt on Mr Altman's predictions that new jobs will replace those destroyed by AI.
"We have unprecedented opportunity here, but we also face a veritable storm of corporate irresponsibility, widespread acceptance, lack of proper regulation and inherent unreliability," Dr Marcus said.
Tech companies argue that Congress should be careful about general rules that combine different types of artificial intelligence. Together. At Tuesday's hearing, IBM's Ms. Montgomery called for A.I., a law similar to the proposed European regulations, describing different levels of risk. She called for rules that focus on specific uses, rather than regulating the technology itself.
"At its heart, A.I. is just a tool, and tools can serve different purposes," she said, adding that Congress should take a "precise regulatory approach" to AI.
May 16, 2023
In a previous version of this article, the last name of IBM's Chief Privacy and Trust Officer was incorrect. She was Christina Montgomery, not Martin.
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Cecilia Kang covers technology and governance and joined The Times in 2015. She co-authored "The Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Dominance," with The Times' Sheera Frenkel. @Cecilia Kang
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