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Schumer to host first of three senator-only AI briefings

by CoinNews

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, speaks about China competitiveness legislation alongside Democratic Senate committee chairs at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 3, 2023.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is set to host the first of three educational sessions about artificial intelligence Tuesday as Congress considers how best to regulate the technology.

Schumer announced Monday on the floor of the Senate that Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Antonio Torralba, a machine learning expert, would lead the first of the senators-only sessions. Tuesday’s talk is set to offer a general overview of AI and its current capabilities, Schumer said.

Lawmakers across Congress are trying to learn more about the technology and figure out what new legislation might be needed to tackle its unique challenges. Hearings about AI have focused on topics ranging from its effects on intellectual property to human rights.

Lawmakers heard from Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, in May. Since then, other experts in the field have hoped policymakers would engage with a diverse range of voices as they consider legislation, so as not to be overly swayed by an early business leader in the space.

The series of talks was first announced in a Dear Colleague letter Schumer sent last week alongside Sens. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Todd Young, R-Ind. In the letter, the senators said the three discussions would ask the following questions:

  1. Where is AI today?
  2. What is the frontier of AI and how do we maintain American leadership?
  3. How do the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community use AI today and what do we know about how our adversaries are using AI[?]

The third question would be tackled in a classified all-senators briefing, the first of its kind on AI.

“The Senate must deepen our expertise in this pressing topic. AI is already changing our world, and experts have repeatedly told us that it will have a profound impact on everything from our national security to our classrooms to our workforce, including potentially significant job displacement,” the group wrote. “We must take the time to learn from the leading minds in AI, across sectors, and consider both the benefits and risks of this technology.”

In his remarks on the floor Monday, Schumer reiterated, “It’s imperative that we senators take the time to educate ourselves on AI and its implications, so that we can ensure it becomes a force for human prosperity, while mitigating its very real risks.”

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