The head of the artificial intelligence company that developed ChatGPT told the US Congress on Tuesday that while artificial intelligence can be beneficial to humanity, it should be regulated.
"We believe that the benefits of the tools we have developed so far, far outweigh the risks," OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman said.
He listed the technology's beneficial applications, from medicine to combating the climate crisis. But he said the intervention of the world's governments was needed to ensure that these tools are developed in a way that protects and respects the rights and freedoms of citizens.
“As this technology advances, we understand that people are anxious about how it could change the way we live. We are too," he said.
He proposed the formation of a US or global agency that would license the most powerful AI systems and have the authority to “take that license away and ensure compliance with safety standards”.
“We think that regulatory intervention by governments will be critical to mitigating the risks of increasingly powerful models. For example, the US might consider a combination of licensing and testing requirements for the development and launch of models above the threshold of capabilities," he said.
Altman’s San Francisco-based start-up rocketed to global attention in November last year when it released ChatGPT.
The free chatbot tool can write essays or a poem, plan a vacation itinerary, or solve a computer code with convincingly human-like responses.
His testimony comes amid increasing concerns in the United States and elsewhere that AI will have unexpected effects on society.
US lawmakers cited risks such as job losses or the use of content creation tools to generate false information by foreign actors.
There is no immediate sign that Congress will craft sweeping new AI rules, such as European lawmakers are doing. But US agencies have promised to crack down on harmful AI products that break existing civil rights and consumer protection laws.
Earlier this month, the US government announced that it will invest $140 million to establish seven new artificial intelligence research institutes that will drive responsible innovation and ensure that advances in the technology serve the common good.