Massachusetts representative Jake Auchincloss became the first congressman on Wednesday to address the House floor with a speech written by ChatGPT artificial intelligence.
While highlighting the increasing prevalence and common use of the software – for better or for worse – the speech was less a political and more an opportunity, Auchincloss said, to prove that it “is a tool, not a master.”
CNN broadcast a short clip from Rep. Auchincloss’ speech, during which he mentioned “a bipartisan piece of legislation that will cement a mutually beneficial partnership between the United States and Israel on artificial intelligence research. This is a critical step forward in an era where AI and its implications are taking center stage in public discourse.”
In a CNN in-studio interview later Wednesday, Auchincloss described his background – “I worked in tech for a number of years” – adding he was “one of the youngest parents in Congress.”
He maintained that ChatGPT is not a fad, but a “technology I know is going to be a part of my career for decades to come,” and it “could be a general technology for my children, meaning that in any sector in which they choose to work, it would be a key tool that they would need to use.”
Auchincloss’ motive to leverage ChatGPT, the AI chat bot from Edwards, California-based firm OpenAI, which is backed by billions of Microsoft funding, is for Congress to embrace and debate it now in order to craft “purposeful policy for AI and not be 10 years behind the ball, like I think a lot of policy was for social media,” he said.
Acknowledging “legitimate concerns” that ChatGPT “has the potential to be harmful,” the congressman said more competition was needed to “counteract any kind of dystopian future.”
“Right now, the cutting edge of AI is in California through a consortium of big tech companies, Microsoft first and foremost, but Meta and Alphabet have their own internal AI research units as well because of their cloud computing power, because of the quality and quantity of data that they have, because of the engineers that they are able to attract, they do the cutting edge work,” he said.
Auchincloss said he believes “this technology should be available to universities, to nonprofits, to public officials, and to small companies so that everybody can have a hand in shaping” how it integrates with society. He reiterated the need for “substantive conversations in Congress” and within the Biden administration.
The possibility that ChatGPT and AI will “amplify human creativity and productivity” exist, although Auchincloss warned that it should not be a “substitute and we should not allow it to create economic or social conditions that 10 years from now we look back on it and say, ‘This isn’t what we wanted.’”