AI Regulation: US Legislators Race to Tame Tech Titans

By: Anneken Tappe · September 14, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Big Tech Goes to Washington

The who is who of big tech found themselves in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, discussing the path forward for AI regulation.

Companies and investors are excited about what advances in artificial intelligence could mean for big tech. But lawmakers are itching to regulate the space.

Senators from across the aisle have called for an independent licensing regime to help bring guidelines to the fast-moving AI sector. And the private sector is broadly on board that regulation is needed.

AI Licenses

Calls for stricter regulations have rung out for months, led by industry leaders like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Microsoft (MSFT) president Brad Smith also signaled his support for a licensing system that determines which organizations can work on high-risk models. Examples of high-risk models include those related to critical infrastructure.

The framework introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) outlines liability for AI models that breach user privacy or violate civil rights. It also requires watermarks for AI-generated deepfakes and disclosures for when the technology has been used to make decisions.

The U.S. is lagging behind the European Union in terms of AI regulation.

In order to determine the best path forward, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met tech leaders including Elon Musk of X and Tesla (TSLA), Meta’s (META) Mark Zuckerberg and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates Wednesday behind closed doors. But not everyone shares the same view. Zuckerberg and Meta’s approach is to open AI up to support development, while Musk has warned of the dangers surrounding the new technology. What the final regulatory proposal will look like remains to be seen.

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