The Biden administration is considering regulating AI tools like ChatGPT over fears of discrimination and harmful information dissemination.
The Commerce Department took an initial move towards potential regulation by releasing a formal public request for comment on accountability measures.
These measures include considering whether new AI models with potential risks should undergo a certification process before release.
With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can rapidly produce content such as text, images, and videos that closely resemble human creations, the government has taken action.
OpenAI, a startup supported by Microsoft Corp., has developed ChatGPT, a chatbot that has been estimated by some analysts to have achieved a user base of 100 million faster than any other consumer application in history.
“It is amazing to see what these tools can do even in their relative infancy, said Alan Davidson, who leads the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department agency that put out the request for comment. “We know that we need to put some guardrails in place to make sure that they are being used responsibly."
According to Davidson, reported The Wall Street Journal, comments will be solicited for the next 60 days to provide guidance to U.S. policy makers on how to address AI. He clarified that his agency is responsible for offering advice to the president on technology policy, rather than creating or enforcing regulations.
Government and industry representatives have voiced worries about various possible negative impacts of AI, such as the potential for the technology to be employed in criminal activities or to disseminate misinformation.
A group of tech leaders, including Elon Musk, have recently urged for a pause of six months in the development of systems that are more advanced than GPT-4, the latest version of OpenAI's chatbot which was released about a month ago.
The leaders have cautioned that a race is taking place between OpenAI and competitors such as Google's Alphabet Inc., and that this race lacks sufficient management and planning regarding the potential risks involved.
Representatives from Microsoft and Google were among the members of the advisory group. These companies, along with others that release AI systems, have stated that they regularly update safety measures, such as programming chatbots to avoid answering certain questions.
“We believe that powerful AI systems should be subject to rigorous safety evaluations," OpenAI said in a recent blog post. “Regulation is needed to ensure that such practices are adopted, and we actively engage with governments on the best form such regulation could take."
During a hearing on AI last month, Rep. Nancy Mace (R., S.C.), who chairs a House Oversight Committee panel on technology, delivered a three-minute statement on the risks and benefits of AI. Following her remarks, she disclosed that "everything" she had just said in her opening statement had actually been written by ChatGPT.
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