Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg and a few other tech giants are meeting in Washington to discuss the future of AI.
Musk, the CEO of a few tech businesses, described the serious dangers of AI after a three-hour Senate hearing on the topic.
“There’s some chance – above zero – that AI will kill us all. I think it’s low but there’s some chance,” Musk told reporters. “The consequences of getting AI wrong are severe.”
But he also said the meeting “may go down in history as being very important for the future of civilization.”
More than 60 senators and prominent civil society figures joined the discussion that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hosted. As the Senate gets ready to draft laws to regulate the quickly developing artificial intelligence industry, the first of nine sessions tries to forge agreement. The CEOs of Meta, Google, OpenAI, Nvidia, and IBM were among the attendees.
According to Schumer, every participant raised their hands when asked if the federal government should regulate AI, signaling “yes” responses. But consensus on what that role should be and specifics on legislation remained elusive, according to attendees.
Bill Gates spoke of AI’s potential to feed the hungry; another attendee called for spending tens of billions on “transformational innovation” that could unlock AI’s benefits.
The challenge for Congress is to promote those benefits while mitigating the societal risks of AI; these include the potential for technology-based discrimination, threats to national security and even, “civilizational risk”.
Senators emerging from the meeting said they heard a broad range of perspectives, with representatives from labor unions raising the issue of job displacement and civil rights leaders highlighting the need for an inclusive legislative process that provides the least powerful in society a voice.
Most agreed that AI could not be left to its own devices.