Congress mulls regulation for fast-evolving AI

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 3:48 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As artificial intelligence sweeps the nation and the world, questions loom as to how ready leaders are for this new frontier. The questions are particularly pressing in the halls of Congress as lawmakers scramble to wrap their heads around the new technology.

“With every new technology, there are positives and there are negatives,” said Yilun Du, a PhD student at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Du currently works for Google robotics, and previously worked for OpenAI, the creators of the AI-driven Chat GPT platform.

Du is all in on AI and excited about its future. He wants to see robots who fight fires or clean rooms.

“AI has the potential to change a very large part of society and maybe make it more efficient,” said Du.

Du says AI is far from becoming self-intelligent, and that concerns over it becoming uncontrollable are overblown. He fears overregulation of the emerging technology could stifle innovation, giving most control over the technology to just a few big companies.

“This is more used as a way to, like, attract public attention and to, like, maybe try to get a competitive advantage,” said Du.

But members of Congress are fearful of out-of-control technology, and they want to set guardrails. Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) is pushing legislation to get ahead of a lightning-fast-paced game.

“We want to make sure it’s used for good things and not used for designing biohazards and new viruses that could be tremendously destructive,” said Budd.

Budd introduced two pieces of legislation addressing potential biosecurity and public health risks that could come with AI. After recent intelligence briefings, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced regulations would be on the way to address potential threats posed.

“We don’t want to be opposed to AI, we want to be supportive of it, because we think it’s… It’s going to reflect human nature: it’s a lot of good, but there’s also a lot of bad,” said Budd.

It is unclear when exactly Budd’s legislation, or any other AI bills, will come up for a vote in the Senate. Schumer said it could be months.