Senators left Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s AI Insight Forum in D.C. Wednesday talking about an urgent need to pass legislation governing AI, while CEOs agreed that Washington must play a role.
Of note: After the closed-to-the-public meeting, Elon Musk said it was important for tech leaders to “have a referee” in Washington and suggested the meeting “may go down in history as very important to the future of civilization.”
Why it matters: The event strengthened Washington’s consensus that government must take a strong hand with the new technology — even as the likelihood of immediate action remained low.
Driving the news: More than 60 senators showed up to the closed-door briefing — with Musk, Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg and Sam Altman among 20 tech and civil society leaders in the room.
What they’re saying: Schumer told reporters, “I asked everyone in the room, does government need to play a role in regulating AI? And every single person raised their hands, even though they had diverse views. That gives us a message — we have to try to act, as difficult as the process is.”
What’s next: Legislative work will ultimately happen in committee.
Yes, but: Schumer is facing criticism about the closed-door nature of the first event and the fact that senators couldn’t ask questions directly to the CEOs.
Zoom in: One theme that emerged from senators and attendees was maintaining U.S. leadership on the global stage.
Other notable parts of the forum, according to Schumer:
What’s next: Schumer told Axios the next Senate AI forum will focus on how the government can encourage innovation to mitigate AI risks and unleash its potential.