Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, asked this Wednesday (13) for a “referee” in the United States for artificial intelligence, after he and the presidents of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, agreed meet with parliamentarians on Capitol Hill, in a closed-door forum to discuss AI regulation.
Parliamentarians are debating how to mitigate the dangers of the technology, which has seen a boom in investment and popularity since OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT.
Musk said a regulator is needed to ensure the safe use of AI.
“It’s important for us to have a referee,” Musk told reporters, comparing technology to sports. The billionaire, who also owns social media platform X (formerly Twitter), added that a regulator would ensure companies adopt measures that are safe and in the interests of the general public.
He added that the meeting was a “service to humanity” and stated that it “could go down in history as something very important for the future of civilization.” Musk confirmed that he called AI “a double-edged sword” during the forum.
Zuckerberg said Congress “must engage with AI to support innovation and safeguards.”
“This is an emerging technology, there are important equities to be balanced here, and the government is ultimately responsible for that,” he said.
He added that “the standard is best set by American companies who can work with our government to shape these models on important issues.”
More than 60 senators participated. Lawmakers said there was universal agreement on the need for government regulation of AI, but it was unclear how long that would take and what it would look like.
Republican Senator Mike Rounds said it will take time for Congress to act. “Are we ready to write legislation? Absolutely not,” Rounds said. “We’re not there.”
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said all participants agreed that “government has a regulatory role” but creating legislation will be a challenge.
Lawmakers want safeguards against potentially dangerous deepfakes, election interference and attacks on critical infrastructure.
Other expected attendees include Nvidia presidents Jensen Huang; from Microsoft, Satya Nadella; from IBM, Arvind Krishna; former Microsoft president Bill Gates and the president of the AFL-CIO union federation, Liz Shuler.
Schumer, who talked about the technology with Musk in April, wants participants to talk “about why Congress should act, what questions it should ask, and how to build consensus for safe innovation.”