Sam Altman Calls for A.I. Regulation in US Senate Hearing


At a Senate hearing this past Tuesday, Sam Altman, the CEO of San Francisco-based start-up OpenAI, urged members of Congress to regulate the increasingly powerful Artificial intelligence (AI) technology being developed in his and other similar companies, including Google and Microsoft. Altman’s friendly appearance made quite the impression, as he traded in his usual pullover for a blue suit – his first time testifying before Congress.

Altman discussed the potential benefits and harms of AI, highlighting the importance of working with the government to ensure the tool is used responsibly. His suggestions for regulations included creating an agency to issue licenses for the development of large-scale AI models, safety regulations and tests that AI models need to pass before being released to the public.

Members of the Senate panel also proposed an independent agency to oversee AI, rules that force companies to reveal their models and data sets they use, and antitrust laws to prevent companies like Microsoft and Google from monopolizing the AI market. Due to its economic potential, Congress is wary of enforcing too many regulations, as it could indirectly support adversaries such as China.

OpenAI is a research laboratory based out of San Francisco, founded by Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Greg Brockman, and Ilya Sutskever, which focuses on AI with the goal of advancing digital intelligence in the ways beneficial to humanity. OpenAI’s mission is to ensure AI’s benefits are equally accessible to society as a whole, and to work on implementing safety and security in artificial intelligence technology systems.

Sam Altman is a technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the current CEO and president of OpenAI, as well as the chairman of Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based start-up accelerator. Previously, he has co-founded multiple startups, among them LateNight Labs and Loopt. Altman was included in the MIT Technology Review’s 2012 list of the 35 Top Innovators under 35, and he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2017.

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