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“A Printing Press Moment” in History

AI should be regulated lest it do real harm in the world, said OpenAI CEO

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company at the forefront of artificial intelligence development in recent months, testified before lawmakers last week on the state of AI, its potential, and the dangers of its misuse. Despite Altman’s overall optimism regarding AI, calling it a “printing press moment,” he called for lawmakers to regulate it to keep it from causing legitimate harm in the world. Julia Zorthian, writer at Times and owner of the coolest last name in the world, reports,

Joining Altman in testifying before the committee were two other AI experts, professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University Gary Marcus and IBM Chief Privacy & Trust Officer Christina Montgomery. The three witnesses supported governance of AI at both federal and global levels, with slightly varied approaches.

“We have built machines that are like bulls in a china shop: Powerful, reckless, and difficult to control,” Marcus said. To address this, he suggested the model of an oversight agency like the Food and Drug Administration, so that creators would have to prove the safety of their AI and show why the benefits outweigh possible harms.

-Julia Zorthian, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Asks Congress to Regulate AI (msn.com)

Lawmakers proceeded to list various concerns over AI, from changes in the military strategy to the rights of artists and musicians. Zorthian continues,

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) asked about compensation for musicians and artists whose work was used to train the models, for example, and then create similar works with their styles or voices. Sen. Alex Padilla (D., Calif.) asked about issues of language inclusivity and providing the same technology for people across cultures. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) asked about protections for local news agencies, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) asked about how AI could impact military drones and change warfare. Other topics included assessing the risks of an AI industry concentrated into very few corporate powers, and ensuring the safety of children who use the tools.

The concern, though varied, appears to be quite bipartisan, making the possibility of across-the-aisle conversation about AI more feasible.

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“A Printing Press Moment” in History