OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will defend AI in front of a senate committee hearing

He is likely to say that the ‘regulation of AI is essential.’
Sejal Sharma
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

Wikimedia Commons 

With incredible breakthroughs in the last couple of months alone, there’s no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) is the future. But it has many industry leaders and nations in jitters over its known and, more pressingly, unknown capabilities. 

In what ways will AI affect our culture? Will there be a stage when AI masters human intimacy? And most importantly, how do we regulate AI?

To answer some of these questions, Sam Altman, the co-founder of OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, will make his first appearance before a judiciary subcommittee hearing titled ‘Oversight of A.I.: Rules for Artificial Intelligence.’

This comes days after Altman, along with other CEOs like Dario Amodei (Anthropic), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), and Sundar Pichai (Google), met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to address the risks associated with AI and the responsibility that their respective companies need to take to ensure safety and privacy.

Expectations of the hearing

According to the prepared remarks released ahead of the senate hearing, Altman will tell U.S. lawmakers that regulation of AI must allow companies to be flexible and adapt to new technological developments, especially now that new AI tools are coming under the radar of regulators around the world.

The Financial Times reported that Altman will say that the ‘regulation of AI is essential’ and that he is “eager to help policymakers as they determine how to facilitate regulation that balances incentivising safety while ensuring that people are able to access the technology’s benefits.”

The U.S. is pushing back on AI, with the National Security Agency (NSA) encouraging the use of AI in intelligence communities to keep up with foreign adversaries and U.S. lawmakers pushing a bipartisan bill last month to block AI from launching nuclear weapons. 

Even Microsoft founder Bill Gates, talking about the threat of AI in an interview with ABC News, had said, “We’re all scared that a bad guy could grab it.” And commenting on whether the U.S. regulators are prepared to tackle the effects of AI, Gates had said ‘Not yet.’

Similarly, the European Union is also deliberating on passing new rules to regulate AI. Last week, European lawmakers voted on agreeing to tougher draft legislation to govern the technology, reported Reuters. The bill will be put to a final vote in June. And once it becomes a law, there would be a grace period of two years to allow affected parties to comply with the regulations.

It remains to be seen when the U.S. will take up accountability measures for AI systems.

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