WASHINGTON, May 25 (Reuters) – Microsoft President Brad Smith called on Thursday for the people behind artificial intelligence to be held accountable for shortcomings and urged lawmakers to ensure that safety brakes be put on AI used to control the electric grid, water supply and other critical infrastructure.
For weeks, lawmakers in Washington have struggled with what laws to pass to control AI even as companies large and small have raced to bring increasingly versatile AI to market.
In a blog post on Thursday, Smith emphasized the need for accountability.
“This is the fundamental need to ensure that machines remain subject to effective oversight by people and the people who design and operate machines remain accountable to everyone else. In short, we must always ensure that AI remains under human control,” he wrote.
As part of a five-point blueprint for public governance of AI, Smith urged that special attention be paid to the electric grid, water systems and other critical infrastructure. “New laws would require operators of these systems to build safety brakes into high-risk AI systems by design,” he wrote in the blog.
He urged use of a “Know Your Customer”-style system for developers of powerful AI models to keep tabs on how their technology is used and to inform the public of what content AI is creating so they can identify faked videos.
Last week, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, told a Senate panel in his first appearance before Congress that use of artificial intelligence to interfere with election integrity is a “significant area of concern”, adding that it needs regulation.
Altman, whose OpenAI is backed by Microsoft, also called for global cooperation on AI and incentives for safety compliance.
Some proposals being considered on Capitol Hill would focus on AI that may put people’s lives or livelihoods at risk, like in medicine and finance. Others are pushing for rules to ensure AI is not used to discriminate or violate civil rights.
The concern has led to a flurry of meetings, including a White House visit this month by the CEOs of OpenAI, Microsoft and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O). President Joe Biden met with the CEOs.
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio
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