Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg: The Mt. Rushmore of Tech Meets in Washington To Discuss AI
September 15, 2023
2 min 59 sec read
What do Gates, Musk, and Zuckerberg have in common besides being three of the world's biggest tech nerds?
Well, it seems they got together in Washington for a meeting of the minds concerning the future of AI, or if you subscribe to Elon's words of warning, the future of humanity.
That's right. Elon exited the three-hour Senate hearing and said, "There's some chance – above zero – that AI will kill us all. I think it's low, but there's some chance."
He warned that the "consequences of getting AI wrong are severe" and even said (about the meeting) that it "may go down in history as being very important for the future of civilization."
That's some pretty serious stuff, but anybody who's watched the Terminator movies and knows something about Skynet might agree.
The session was organized by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who brought together high-profile tech CEOs, civil society leaders, and more than 60 senators. It's the first of nine sessions, the goal of which is to develop a consensus before drafting legislation to put a muzzle on the out-of-control artificial intelligence industry.
Some heavy hitters involved included Meta, Google, OpenAI, Nvidia, and IBM CEOs. They weren't coming together to sip coffee on an afternoon break. When asked whether the federal government should oversee AI, everybody raised their hands like a classroom full of kids who knew the right answer for a change.
Bill Gates talked about AI and its potential to feed humanity. That's a distinctly different outlook than Elon's, but, hey, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?
The job of Congress, of course, is to find a way to reap the rewards Gates spoke about while minimizing the risks AI poses to society, such as technology-based discrimination, threats to national security, and the potential for the destruction of humanity that Elon alluded to.
"You want to be able to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm," said Schumer, according to CNN Business.
"And that will be our difficult job."
Several Senators said they heard many perspectives, from labor unions whose concern was killing jobs to civil rights leaders who want to ensure the legislative process gives voice to those with the least power.
Almost everybody agrees that AI can't be left on its own because we'd be in big trouble.
But who's going to monitor this "threat to mankind?"
There was a lack of meaningful participation when figuring out who would handle this, especially when discussing a possible new federal agency. Some attendees suggested the job go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Elon told reporters he thinks a dedicated agency will likely happen.
The esteemed guests arrived around 10:00 a.m., and the tech celebs and politicians rubbed shoulders. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, while Google's CEO Sundar Pichai was spotted chilling with Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
In his usual grand fashion, Elon whizzed by the crowd like he was walking the red carpet at a movie premiere.
In the meeting, Elon found himself sitting at one end of the room with Zuckerberg at the other, which was likely the first time the two were together since Elon challenged Zuck to a "cage fight."
The US Capitol session gave the tech world the best opportunity to stamp their approval on how laws that govern AI are written. Google, Microsoft, IBM, and OpenAI, among others, have already begun drafting their proposals. Let's hope they aren't using AI to do it.
One thing almost everybody (sort of) believes is that AI needs somebody to hold its hand. If not, we might find ourselves bowing at the hands of a new master.
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