Alarmed by AI’s potential, U.S. Senate to summon experts

Jul 27, 2023

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators, alarmed by the malevolent potential of artificial intelligence, will summon developers, executives and experts for hearings later this year on possible legislative safeguards, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

There is “real bipartisan interest in AI, which will be necessary if we want to make progress on what really is an imperative for this country – putting together AI legislation that encourages innovation but has the safeguards to prevent the liabilities that AI could present,” Schumer said.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer, the chamber’s leading Democrat, said the Senate would convene what he called “the first-ever AI Insight Forums” to hear what experts had to say.

Democratic and Republican senators voiced alarm this week about artificial intelligence’s potential use to create a biological weapon.

Lawmakers around the world began considering how to mitigate the dangers of AI to national security and the economy after generative AI, which uses data to create new content like ChatGPT, made headlines by answering even complex queries with human-sounding prose.

Schumer said senators were briefed on AI on Wednesday by experts at the U.S. Energy Department, the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which had laid the groundwork for the internet.

Also on Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to send to the full Senate a bill that would put a chief AI officer into each federal agency and create a council for these AI officers to coordinate how the federal government uses the emerging technology.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Howard Goller)


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