OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will testify before Congress next week, a major step for lawmakers seeking to understand and regulate the fast-moving industry of artificial intelligence.
Altman’s company is the developer behind ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that captured the nation’s attention late last year, with Americans using it for everything from medical advice to cheating on homework. The AI guru will appear before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology, and the law on Tuesday.
“Artificial intelligence will be transformative in ways we can’t even imagine, with implications for Americans’ elections, jobs, and security,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said in a statement ahead of the hearing.
The sudden emergence of generative AI’s like ChatGPT has kicked off pressure for Congress to start regulating the industry more heavily. Many of AI’s top minds have warned that unchecked AI development could lead to catastrophic results.
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More than 1,000 such experts called in March for at least a six-month pause in AI development so that guardrails and best practices can be set up. Elon Musk and Apple confounder Steve Wozniak were among them, but OpenAI’s Altman was not.
In fact, Altman criticized Musk’s public letter on the issue in early April, saying that a pause in development was not the “optimal way to address it.”
“There’s parts of the thrust that I really agree with,” Altman said at the time, adding that his team spent more than six months after completing the training of ChatGPT 4 to study safety components before it was released.
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“So that, I totally agree with,” Altman continued. “I think moving with caution and increasing rigor for safety issues is really important, the letter, I don’t think is the optimal way to address it.”
Few lawmakers on Capitol Hill have established views on AI, but most have recognized the potential the technology has to upend current norms.
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