He's practically begging for it.

Holding the Line

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is practically begging for government regulation of AI — before it's too late.

As the Financial Times reports, Altman told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday that regulators should create "guidelines about what's expected in terms of disclosure" for companies like OpenAI.

Altman also invoked next year's presidential election, arguing that AI may be able to sway or predict the opinion of the public.

"The more general ability of these models to manipulate, to persuade, to provide sort of one-on-one interactive disinformation... given that we're going to face an election next year and these models are getting better," he told lawmakers. "I think this is a significant area of concern."

"I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong," Altman added. "And we want to be vocal about that. We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening."

It's not exactly a sharp turn for Altman, who has been a vocal proponent for regulation for some time now. And considering that he's repeatedly warned the tech could do some serious harm to human society, we're glad to see that he's at the very least holding the pretty-please, pro-regulation line.

Lines in the Sand

Altman's certainly not alone in thinking AI should be regulated. Earlier this year, OpenAI critic and Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors that "AI stresses me out," arguing that "we need some kind of, like, regulatory authority or something overseeing AI development."

That said, not everybody agrees. Just this weekend, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt argued that the AI industry should be left to regulate itself.

It's still unclear how lawmakers will react to Altman's comments. For one, previous tech regulation bills centered on privacy or safety have failed due to political disagreements or opposition by tech companies, as The New York Times points out.

"Our goal is to demystify and hold accountable those new technologies to avoid some of the mistakes of the past," Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who oversaw the hearing, told the NYT. "Congress failed to meet the moment on social media."

Other lawmakers pointed out the irony in having Altman warn about the dangers of AI, while simultaneously releasing potentially dangerous systems.

Regardless of the outcome of today's hearing, congrats to Altman for his first congressional testimony — which at this point has become a rite of passage for tech moguls.

More on Sam Altman: OpenAI CEO: It's Not Funny That I'm Afraid of the AI We're Creating

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