Microsoft president and Nvidia chief scientist to testify in Senate AI hearings
Digital advocacy groups warn Senate judiciary committee that tech companies cannot be trusted to regulate themselves.
Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia are the latest companies to take the hot seat in a series of Senate judiciary hearings on artificial intelligence as the federal government continues to grapple with how to regulate the technology.
Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, and Nvidia’s chief scientist, William Dally, are expected to testify on Tuesday alongside Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law at Boston University School of Law.
Both companies have been at the forefront of the AI boom, ramping up their investment in developing and utilizing aspects of the AI supply chain. Microsoft invested in a series of partnerships as well as its own in-house AI technology, Copilot. In addition to its $10bn investment in the ChatGPT owner, OpenAI, Microsoft partnered with Meta on the release and support of the social media platform’s open-source large language model Llama 2. Nvidia, for its part, has benefited from its early investment and focus on building computer chips for AI systems, raking in more than $13bn in revenue in the second quarter. The 30-year-old company is now valued at $1tn and is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the AI boom, with its chips powering many of the world’s major AI tools including ChatGPT.
As efforts to rein in these technologies continue, digital advocacy groups warn that tech companies cannot be trusted to regulate themselves and anything Congress comes up with should be cognizant of that.
“Big tech has shown us what ‘self-regulation’ looks like, and it looks a lot like their own self-interest,” said Bianca Recto, communications director for Accountable Tech. “Senators must go into this week’s AI hearings with their eyes wide open – or risk once again getting fooled by savvy PR at the expense of our safety.”
There has been some recent movement in regulating the technology. Senators Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, introduced a bipartisan AI framework that would require companies to register with an independent oversight body that would be tasked with licensing AI technology. The proposal also calls for Congress to clarify a section in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that does not protect tech companies developing AI tools from liability and potential lawsuits.
The hearing continues a big week for AI on the Capitol. On Wednesday, the Senate is hosting its first ever AI Forum, a closed-door meeting convened by Senator Chuck Schumer, who has invited several tech executives including Google’s Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Nvidia’s Jensen Huang .