AI policy meeting in US Senate an 'unprecedented moment'
|Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg arrive at the US Capitol. AFP|
In brief | The US Senate welcomed tech bosses, labour leaders and civil rights advocates to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a closed-door forum on the need to set AI safeguards.
Congress is grappling with how to mitigate the dangers of the emerging technology, which has experienced a boom in investment and consumer popularity after the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT.
Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Alphabet's Sundar Pichai, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, Nvidia's Jensen Huang and OpenAI’s Sam Altman were among the tech leaders in attendance for the hearing convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Today, we begin an enormous and complex and vital undertaking: building a foundation for bipartisan AI policy that Congress can pass,” Mr Schumer said.
Why it matters | Regulators globally have been scrambling to draw up laws governing the use of generative AI. The Biden administration is preparing an executive order on “responsible innovation” and this week’s gathering was the first in a series of listening sessions before US politicians start writing up new rules. The approaching US presidential election has added urgency to the proceedings, with protections needed against potentially dangerous deepfakes, election interference and attacks on critical infrastructure.
Quoted | “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for Congress – we need AI experts, ethicists, labour leaders, civil rights groups, the world of academia, defence and beyond helping us with the work ahead” – US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Future in focus
|The aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya. Reuters|
Flood fears | After Storm Daniel, Mediterranean cities 'need to prepare' flood defences. Intense precipitation of the kind that caused devastation in the Libyan port city of Derna could become more common as global warming continues.
Cost of change | What getting to a net-zero world would take. Report by energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie calculates cost of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Fast and autonomous | High-speed armed drone boats ready to protect offshore oilfields. Travelling at up to 60 knots (111kph) and armed with a heavy machinegun and ship arrester nets, the P38 Aggressor will be among the fastest autonomous boats launched.
Predicting the future: Signal or noise?
|Concern about technology making one’s job obsolete is on the rise. Getty Images|
Are you experiencing Fobo? You are not alone. The fear of becoming obsolete has grown in the past two years among US workers, with 22 per cent now saying they worry that technology will make their job redundant, up from 15 per cent in 2021, a survey by US analytics and advisory company Gallup found.
This is a signal. About one in four jobs is expected to change in the next five years as generative AI “comes of age”, creating and destroying millions of jobs in the process, the World Economic Forum said back in May.
“It’s easy to foresee the concerns mounting in the coming years – particularly among the college-educated – as technology continues to improve,” Lydia Saad, Gallup’s director of US social research said.
“It is no longer only about robots standing in for humans in warehouses and on assembly lines, but has expanded to online programs conducting sophisticated language-based work, including writing computer code.”