Sam Altman, the CEO and co-founder of OpenAI, the developer of the ChatGPT text generation program, on Tuesday called on the United States Congress to regulate the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In an appearance before a Senate subcommittee, Altman listed beneficial applications of the technology, from medicine to combating the climate crisis, and his belief that AI can be used to benefit humanity.
But he did qualify that the intervention of the world’s governments is necessary to ensure that these tools are developed in a way that protects and respects the rights and liberties of citizens.
During the hearing the businessman defended, “We believe that the benefits of the devices developed so far outweigh the risks.”
Altman’s testimony comes amid concerns from US officials that the rapid progress of AI technologies could have unintended effects on society.
Lawmakers cited risks such as job losses or the use of content creation tools by foreign actors to generate false information.
To illustrate their concerns, Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Privacy, Technology and Law Subcommittee and audience advocate, broadcast an AI-powered recording written by ChatGPT, mimicking Chat’s style and focus.
“Quoting ChatGPT, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want the future,” Blumenthal joked at the start of the event.
Altman acknowledged that AI is likely to affect the job market, but was optimistic that in the long run, the technology will create more new jobs than it destroys.
“We are tremendously creative,” the businessman assured.
Another guest at the event, Christina Montgomery, IBM’s director of privacy and trust, cited her position as an example of the work that existed before the development of AI.
Altman was also open to Blumenthal’s suggestion that the government develop independent laboratories to test the reliability of artificial intelligence models, and that they give them a grade similar to nutritional ratings of food.
The head of OpenAI admits that their products are still small, but over time they will become more and more reliable.
One of the senators promoting the audience, Republican Josh Hawley, assured that artificial intelligence is “one of the most important innovations in history”, but it is still unclear whether it will be the same as the invention of the printing press or the atom. For Bomb.
The congressmen argued that while it is true that public regulation is needed, AI companies such as OpenAI do not need to wait for Congress to establish mechanisms to control the development of the technology in order to minimize damage.
Earlier this month, the US government announced that it would invest $140 million to establish seven new artificial intelligence research institutes that will foster responsible innovation and ensure that advances in technology serve the common good.
The centers will join the 18 AI research institutes already operating in the country.
In addition, the White House announced that major AI companies have agreed to undergo public evaluation of their systems during the DEF CON 31 hacker event in Las Vegas in early August.
During the conference, thousands of participants will analyze whether these systems align with an AI Bill of Rights proposed by the US government, which includes principles such as the privacy of user data or protection against discriminatory algorithms.