In short, the tentacles of US tech companies are overall– Vaccines, food, cancer research, psilocybin centers, criminal justice reform, homelessness – the list could go to the moon. (Speaking of the moon, how could we forget commercial space travel?) And the AI boom is likely to further increase the power and wealth of tech companies. But on Capitol Hill, a few powerful Republicans are focused on one goal: securing American AI dominance.
On that front, Rubio generally sees any new regulation as an unnecessary to harmful constraint on US tech giants and their AI experiments. A near-universal insight from the briefings is that America cannot afford to be number two.
“You are dealing with a technology that knows no national borders. So even if we write laws that say a company can’t do this in America, it doesn’t mean a company is operating in another part of the world or a government is operating in another part of the world.” “Other parts of the World will not innovate, use and use against the US,” says Rubio.
Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota and one of four senators who chaired all senator briefings, shares this sentiment. “AI will continue to evolve whether it’s here in the United States or elsewhere. We have to move faster than our opponents,” he says. “We have to drive it forward, but we also want to build in appropriate safeguards.”
Details are still undetectable in most corners of the Capitol. Lawmakers are still recognizing the potential of new language learning models like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, even as AI overwhelms us all. On the one hand, Rounds remains open to nebulous new parameters, but on the other hand, in a critical, fatherly manner, accuses the Americans of disregarding our data protection.
“Here’s the deal, we’re giving it up voluntarily,” Rounds says. “People don’t seem to realize that by signing these agreements, they are giving away a lot of their personal information.”
The reckless sharing of our data might be okay if it’s American tech companies that are hijacking it. But Rounds, like most lawmakers, opposes the idea of sharing our private data with Chinese company TikTok. It’s the only privacy issue everyone can agree on — perhaps with the exception of the company’s 150 million US-based users to have claimed.
“A large segment of the American public doesn’t seem to have much concern about this, which is unfortunate because it helps create the databases that could ultimately be used against us,” Rounds says.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the others tried to keep the discussion of artificial intelligence out of politics, AI now seems stuck in the centuries-old partisan debate that pits laissez-faire capitalism against Big Brother, according to what is being said Martin Heinrich, the Democrat from New Mexico, the case is unfortunately short-sighted.
“We failed to regulate the Internet when it could be regulated, and most Republicans and Democrats today are saying, ‘Holy cow, we’ve put our entire teenage population through this experiment, and it’s not serving us well.’ So I just don’t think it’s helpful to harden yourself,” says Heinrich.