Phoenix-area AI expert says legislation on the evolving technology is essential

At the meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the discussion involved potential laws that would tighten control over artificial intelligence.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 9:16 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - This week, U.S. senators met with tech leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of regulations for artificial intelligence. It was the first of nine meetings aimed at developing laws that would tighten controls on the new technology.

The first was a private meeting between Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and 60 senators. Some senators described it as the most important congressional meeting in the last several years, and all attendees unanimously agreed that the federal government should oversee AI. They also agreed that it needs to happen fast.

Senators say there are many concerns over AI, ranging from fear of job displacement, misinformation, election integrity and threats to national security, just to name a few. A Valley-area AI expert says it’s more likely, however, that AI can be used for things like voice cloning in a money scam. Just a few months ago, an AI scammer was able to target a Scottsdale mom by cloning her daughter’s voice, saying he was holding her ransom. She later testified in a congressional hearing, hoping to raise awareness.

“These, I believe, are serious matters that we need to think about and certainly saying people who are deploying these systems should not be held accountable, which is the way originally these data systems were made, that part no longer makes sense,” said Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor at Arizona State University.

But Musk also gave a grave warning to journalists on Capitol Hill moments after this week’s meeting. “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 it wrong are severe.”

Musk believes an entire governmental agency just to regulate AI is likely to emerge from these sessions. Leading the way in AI regulation will be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with three other senators. He said the process will be difficult because they aren’t sure what questions policymakers should be asking, as AI can be used in so many ways. But the goal, Schumer says, is to create laws in the coming months, not years.

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