Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI, was set to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law on Tuesday.
IBM’s chief privacy and trust officer, Christina Montgomery, was also slated to testify before the subcommittee, as was Gary Marcus, a professor emeritus at New York University who was among a group of AI experts who urged OpenAI and other tech firms to take a six-month pause before developming more powerful AI models in order to allow society to weigh their risks.
Currently there’s no indication that Congress will follow the lead of European lawmakers and craft sweeping new regulations for AI. However, a recent meeting at the White House between Altman, other tech CEOs and Vice President Harris led U.S. agencies to promise to crack down on AI products that would break existing civil rights and consumer protection laws.
Some of the broader concerns that have arisen surrounding ChatGPT and “generative AI” tools include a potential to mislead the public, spread falsehoods, violate copyright protections and threaten a number of jobs.
Further, President Biden signed an executive order in February directing federal agencies to root out racial bias and “algorithmic discrimination” in the designing of emerging technologies.
Senate Judiciary Chair Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has said in a statement ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, “Artificial intelligence urgently needs rules and safeguards to address its immense promise and pitfalls.”
While ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, said, “Artificial intelligence will be transformative in ways we can’t even imagine, with implications for Americans’ elections, jobs, and security,” adding, “This hearing marks a critical first step towards understanding what Congress should do.”
Tuesday’s hearing comes as ChatGPT’s Altman has scheduled a worldwide tour, during which he’ll visit national capitals and major cities across six continents to talk about AI with policymakers and the public.