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Leaders of artificial intelligence companies are making an unusual request to Congress as their industry advances: establish safeguards to mitigate threats their technology poses. Lawmakers echo their anxieties, but creating new laws presents stiff challenges.
Tools such as OpenAI Inc.’s ChatGPT that collect data from users have raised privacy concerns. New language models have the ability to write songs, produce visuals, and mimic real-life artists without their consent. Human bias and discrimination could permeate A.I. systems and negatively affect minorities. The rise in deepfakes and voice cloning could pose risks to democracy, especially regarding misinformation in elections. Bad actors could exploit A.I. to spam and manipulate users.
Though Democrats and Republicans have displayed unity over the need to regulate the emerging technology, history isn’t on Congress’ side when it comes to reining in the tech industry. Lawmakers failed to significantly move the needle on social media regulations and now worry about bungling the response to A.I.
The Senate Judiciary’s privacy, technology, and law subcommittee heard testimony this week on its dangers from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and IBM Chief Privacy and Trust Officer Christina Montgomery. The hearing was the first of many to better understand the benefits and harms of the emerging technology.
Subcommittee chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who opened the hearing with an A.I.-generated recording that sounded like his voice, acknowledged that regulating A.I. is a complex task and Congress doesn’t have the expertise.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.) met Wednesday with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) about their emerging bipartisan group focused on comprehensive A.I. legislation, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
But discussions are a far cry from moving forward on sweeping legislation.
“The idea that we need to put some guardrails in place is a good one. But what does that mean? I don’t know,” said Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary panel that hosted the hearing this week. “Nobody knows, right?”
Advocates for A.I. regulation say they are enthused by lawmakers’ recent focus on the technology, though also recognize that a learning curve exists.
“That, I think, is going to be the question: How quickly can they feel like they have enough competency in this space to draft a bill that actually gets at some of the harms that they unearthed?” said Jordan Shapiro, director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Innovation Frontier Project. Read the full story by Oma Seddiq.
- The president visits the Hiroshima Memorial Museum and tours the Itsukushima Shrine between working group sessions with G-7 leaders in Japan beginning today at 11 a.m. JST.
Debt Ceiling Dealmaking
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stoked optimism on Thursday about reaching a debt limit deal on Capitol Hill, after negotiations narrowed to top staffers for McCarthy and President Joe Biden.
- However, Biden faces a fervent campaign from progressive Democrats opposing potential concessions to Republicans, complicating passage of a deal and risking enthusiasm for his reelection. Read more.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told top bank executives Thursday that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would be “catastrophic” for the financial system, reiterating that the matter should be addressed without delay.
- Meanwhile, the amount of money the government has to pay its bills dwindled to the lowest since December 2021, deepening concern that it will run out of funds by early next month if the debt limit isn’t raised or suspended before then. Read more.
Politics & Influence
Republicans have yet to land top-flight Senate candidates in Montana or Wisconsin. Democrats don’t know whether Sen. Joe Manchin is going to leave them in the lurch in West Virginia. There are many question marks on the map as the parties prepare for 2024.
Being a former member of Congress comes with perks. A collection of lawmakers who left after the 117th Congress has embraced one of them: influence gigs.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was absent from the Capitol for months after being hospitalized with shingles, suffered serious complications, a spokesperson said Thursday.
US vs Russia, China
The G-7 nations will increase pressure on Russia with additional sanctions as well as restrictions on goods it uses on the battlefield, according to a senior Biden administration official.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will travel to Hiroshima to join the G-7 leaders in person, according to people familiar with the plans.
The US and Taiwan agreed to boost trade ties, the first tangible results under an initiative announced last year that faces vehement opposition from Beijing and clouds the outlook for a visit to the US next week by a Chinese commerce official.
Biden has largely stuck with his predecessor’s tough economic line against China, and even taken it a bit further. But that’s not how Donald Trump is telling it.
What Else We’re Reading
The Supreme Court handed social media companies a new line of defense as they face an increasing number of lawsuits alleging their algorithms have harmed users — whether by addicting children or selling suicide kits.
A diverse group of Montana TikTok creators with hundreds of thousands of followers sued to challenge the first statewide ban of the popular app, arguing the law violates free-speech rights and will disrupt their livelihoods.
The Biden administration’s proposal to overhaul the management of the nation’s organ donation system is getting backing from a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers, who want to empower the government to see it through.
Civil rights lawyer Nancy Abudu has been confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, where she will be the first Black woman to sit on the Atlanta-based court.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org