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Schumer calls for AI rules as ChatGPT surges in popularity

The Senate majority leader has circulated a plan to establish rules on AI to address national security concerns as ChatGPT becomes the fastest-growing consumer application in history.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.Alex Wong / Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday he had launched an effort to establish rules on artificial intelligence to address national security and education concerns, as use of programs like ChatGPT becomes widespread.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement he had drafted and circulated a “framework that outlines a new regulatory regime that would prevent potentially catastrophic damage to our country while simultaneously making sure the U.S. advances and leads in this transformative technology.”

ChatGPT, an AI program that recently grabbed the public’s attention for its ability to write answers quickly to a wide range of queries, in particular has attracted U.S. lawmakers’ attention. It has become the fastest-growing consumer application in history with more than 100 million monthly active users.

Schumer’s plan will need the approval of Congress and the White House and could still take months or more. However, is the most concrete step yet that the U.S. government may adopt new regulations to address rising concerns about generative AI.

“Time is of the essence to get ahead of this powerful new technology to prevent potentially wide-ranging damage to society and national security and instead put it to positive use by advancing strong, bipartisan legislation,” Schumer said.

Schumer’s proposal would require companies to allow independent experts to review and test AI technologies ahead of public release or update and give users access to findings. He has not yet drafted legislation.

Schumer cited China’s release this week of its own approach to regulating AI, calling it “a wake-up call to the nation”.

He said it is “is imperative for the United States to lead and shape the rules governing such a transformative technology and not permit China to lead on innovation or write the rules of the road.”

Schumer’s office said he has for months been “discussing and circulating a high-level framework that outlines a new regulatory regime for artificial intelligence, engaging leading artificial intelligence experts to help inform the proposal.”

President Joe Biden last week said it remained to be seen whether AI is dangerous. “Tech companies have a responsibility, in my view, to make sure their products are safe before making them public,” he said. The Commerce Department on Tuesday said it was seeking public comments on potential accountability measures for AI.

China’s cyberspace regulator unveiled draft measures Tuesday for managing generative AI services, saying it wants firms to submit security assessments to authorities before launching offerings to the public.

Microsoft a big investor in OpenAI, which created ChatGPT. The software company and Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been pouring billions of dollars into AI to gain an edge amid heightened competition in Silicon Valley.

The three companies did not immediately comment Thursday on Schumer’s effort.