Artificial intelligence is becoming more popular in the workplace and in our everyday lives.
Members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee debated how lawmakers should regulate this powerful technology in a hearing on Tuesday.
“Disinformation, housing discrimination, harassment of women and impersonation fraud, voice cloning, deep fakes. These are the potential risks despite the other rewards,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in his opening remarks.
“What kind of technology will this be? How will we use it to better our lives?” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who pointed out there are still so many unknown factors.
Lawmakers questioned the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OpenAI, the company that developed ChaptGPT.
ChatGPT is a language processing tool that can answer questions, write essays and even mimic voices.
“If this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong and we want to be vocal about that,” said OpenAI CEO Samuel Altman. “We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”
Blumenthal pointed to concerns about the technology potentially leading to the elimination of massive amounts of jobs.
“The effect on jobs, which is really my biggest nightmare in the long term,” said Blumenthal. “Let me ask you what your biggest nightmare is and whether you share that concern?” he asked Altman.
“I expect there to be significant impact on jobs but exactly what that impact looks like is very difficult to predict,” said Altman. “My worst fears are that we cause significant, we the field, the technology, the industry, cause significant harm to the world.”
Lawmakers asked about that potential harm on elections and the influence the technology can have on voters.
“Should we be concerned about models that can, large language models, that can predict survey opinion and then can help organizations into these fine tune strategies to elicit behaviors from voters? Should we be worried about this for our elections?” asked Hawley.
“It’s one of my areas of greatest concern,” said Altman. “The more general ability of these models to manipulate, to persuade, to provide sort of one on one interactive disinformation… I do think some regulation would be quite wise on this topic.”
Altman suggested that Congress could consider setting licensing and testing requirements for companies that develop artificial intelligence.
Altman stressed that even in the face of potential risks, he is optimistic about the future of the technology.
“We’re here because people love this technology,” said Altman. “We think it can be a printing press moment. We have to work together to make it so.”
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