In front of US senators, the head of the firm that created the ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot, Sam Altman, made the surprising suggestion that the US Congress should regulate the use of artificial intelligence.
And he launched a striking confession: “My worst fear is that we will cause significant damage to the world.“.
Altman, 38, the chief executive of technology firm OpenAI, appeared before a Senate privacy and technology committee that questioned him about how ChatGPT works and what benefits and risks artificial intelligence (AI) poses.
The call for regulation was considered “historic” by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, as industries are often averse to government controls.
But Altman made an appearance with thoughtful responses, even to very direct questions about the implications that AI has now and those it may have in the near future.
“The US government should consider a combination of requirements license or registration for development and release of AI models above a crucial capability threshold, along with incentives for full compliance with these requirements,” Altman said.
“There will be an impact on jobs”
ChatGPT and its similar Bard (from Google) have been the spearheads of AI robots with powerful information processing capacity and logical reasoning.
Chatbots are capable of offering very complete answers to questions or orders from users. And while they can create incredibly human responses, they can also be highly inaccurate.
The technology has aroused fascinationbut also worries about how the functions of these robots could replace human labor in some occupational areas.
“There will be an impact on jobs. We try to be very clear about it,” Altman said.
However, he also stated that the technology has the potential to help find solutions to problems such as cancer or environmental degradation.
Given the great social impact that may be in the near future, the director of OpenAI suggested that a new government agency should be integrated in the US to grant licenses to companies in this technology industry.
Altman has become something of a mouthpiece for the burgeoning industry. He has not shied away from addressing the ethical questions that AI raises.
He said AI could be as big as “the printing press” but acknowledged its potential dangers.
He admitted the impact that AI could have by being used like a weapon in electionswhich it considered a “significant area of concern.”
“I think we also need standards, guidelines, on what is expected in terms of disclosure from a company that provides a model,” Altman said of elections and AI, adding: “I’m nervous about it”.
Some senators argued that new laws were needed to make it easier for people to sue companies like OpenAI.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said the technology could be revolutionary, but also compared it to the invention of the “atomic bomb.”
Democrat Richard Blumenthal noted that an AI-dominated future “is not necessarily the future we want.”
“We need to maximize the good over the bad. Congress has a choice now. We had the same choice when faced with social media. We couldn’t seize that moment,” she warned.
After the meeting, it seemed clear that there is bipartisan support for a new body to regulate the industry. But there were questions about whether such an agency could keep up in a rapidly evolving industry.
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