Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is set to host an AI policy forum this September, bringing together influential tech executives, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Nvidia’s Jensen Huang, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, and OpenAI’s Sam Altman, to name but a few.
The forum, which Schumer’s office describes as bipartisan, is part of his larger initiative to lay down the regulatory groundwork for AI technology.
The gathering forms part of Schumer’s “AI Insight Forums,” intended to be the cornerstone for his efforts in formulating bipartisan policies that address the risks and opportunities associated with AI.
A slow starter in AI regulation, the US is now rapidly advancing high-level conversations over the technology’s policy ramifications.
According to Schumer, “We need the best of the best sitting at the table: the top AI developers, executives, scientists, advocates, community leaders, workers, national security experts – all together in one room, doing years of work in a matter of months.”
The first of these forums is scheduled for September 13 and will feature other industry leaders such as Google’s Sundar Pichai, Nvidia’s Jensen Huang, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
It’s a serious lineup, and one X user also pointed out that Musk and Zuckerberg will be in the same room as each other – as the two tech bosses are currently planning a cage fight.
ELON MUSK AND MARK ZUCKERBERG ARE ABOUT TO BE IN A ROOM TOGETHER 👀👀👀
“The CEOs of the most powerful U.S. tech companies are heading to Capitol Hill next month for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s first AI insight forum, sources tell Axios.” pic.twitter.com/GL4Hb0A09y
— Evan (@StockMKTNewz) August 28, 2023
But will their views on AI regulation square up? Given Musk’s advocacy for ‘truth-seeking AI’ and generally negative sentiment towards the technology, it’s tough to imagine that debates will be plain sailing.
AI regulation kicks up another notch
Schumer has been vocal about the need for new legislative approaches to AI.
“They have to be the first of their kind,” he stated, “because AI moves so quickly, will change our world so decisively, is so much deeper in its complexity than almost anything else we have dealt with, and lacks the legislative history in Congress that other issues, like the military or education or health care, have.”
The urgency for regulation gained momentum after last year’s launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI, which has attracted heightened scrutiny from lawmakers.
Congress members and other politicians worldwide have been engaging in private discussions and briefings with AI professionals, including the CEOs of companies like OpenAI and Google.
The increasingly close relationship between policymakers and industry leaders has sparked concerns among consumer advocates, who argue that tech companies may exert undue influence over legislative processes.
Some argue that big tech is using regulation to subjugate the rising open-source community, which challenges their channels for monetizing AI products.
President Joe Biden has also acknowledged the imperative to tackle the challenges posed by AI to national security and the economy.
An official statement from the White House in late July established a voluntary framework for responsible AI development, and government officials have become increasingly involved in AI safety.
Arati Prabhakar, head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, attended the Def Con conference, where AI safety was a hot topic.
This latest announcement of the forum follows Schumer’s June speech, where he emphasized the need to establish a “new foundation for AI policy.”
His calls echo broader international efforts to address the implications of AI, with countries like the United Kingdom also planning to hold global summits on artificial intelligence safety later this year.
The UK government recently announced the location of their forthcoming AI Summit, which will take place at Bletchley Park, the site of some of the most advanced early computers.
Numerous governments across the Americas, Europe, and Asia are deliberating on how best to mitigate the risks associated with AI, with Europe, the US, and China seeking to set the tone.