The United States is not ready to join a binding treaty proposed by Pope Francis to regulate artificial intelligence on a global scale, a top Senate Democrat says.
On Thursday, Pope Francis issued a dire warning to world leaders that uninhibited and reckless development of AI "may pose a risk to our survival and endanger our common home." In remarks made in honor of the upcoming 57th annual World Day of Peace, the pope urged world leaders to sign a global treaty to guide the development of AI for the betterment of humanity.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Politico in a statement that Congress has much more work to do on AI regulation before lawmakers can commit to a global treaty.
"There is more work to do at the national level before we can establish global obligations and restrictions on the use of AI," Warner said in a statement.
Congress has talked about AI regulation for years, but lawmakers remain far away from a concrete proposal to set up safeguards around the powerful technology.
In September, the Senate hosted a bipartisan forum inviting tech leaders to brief lawmakers on the latest innovations in AI and the risks they might pose. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and others were among those who attended the closed-door forum.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) arrives for a meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill, April 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting today to hold a vote on t
"The things we discussed were open AI, and the pros and cons of that, then health care — the amazing potential that AI could have in health care," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who moderated the forum, told reporters after the meeting.
"We talked about election law and the need to do something fairly immediate, before the election. We talked about the displacement of workers, both the training of workers into the new AI jobs but also what we do about displaced workers who might lose their jobs or have diminished jobs," Schumer said. "We talked about who the regulators should be – lots of different decisions and questions about that. We talked about the need for immigration. We talked about transparency."
While U.S. lawmakers remain in discussions about how to regulate AI, the European Union last week reached a deal that would establish the first set of comprehensive rules to regulate AI, which would become a model for the rest of the world to follow.
Warner advocated for moderation as Congress develops its own AI rules.
"Congress and governments around the world have an obligation to ensure that innovation in AI happens responsibly with appropriate safeguards in place," he told Politico.
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