In what seems like inviting the foxes to a forum on henhouse safety, the biggest names in AI held a secret meeting in Washington, D.C. yesterday to advise Senate leaders on how to regulate the fast-growing AI industry.

San Francisco was the center of the artificial intelligence (AI) universe Wednesday, when Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman kicked off this year’s Dreamforce conference with a chat about the state of AI.

But Washington, D.C. quickly became the center of the AI universe just one day later, as CNN reports that Altman, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, current Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt brought the leading minds of the AI world to a closed-door session with high-ranking senators to start discussing how to regulate this red-hot, though not entirely reliable, new industry.

Also in attendance were Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang

The Wednesday morning meeting was closed to the public and the press. But NBC News has some quotes from the executives and senators who emerged afterwards, and the New York Times does as well.

"We all share the same incentives of getting this right," Altman said, per the Times.

"When it comes to AI, we shouldn’t be thinking about autopilot. You need to have copilots," said Nadella. Senator Sen. Maria Cantwell [D-Washington] then asked reporters, "So who’s going to be watching this activity and making sure that it’s done correctly?"

“The consequences of AI going wrong are severe so we have to be proactive rather than reactive,” Elon Musk told reporters, according to NBC News. “The question is really one of civilizational risk. It’s not like … one group of humans versus another. It’s like, hey, this is something that’s potentially risky for all humans everywhere.”

Musk is among those tech figures who signed an open letter to pause AI research in March, despite routinely complaining about regulations. But there are legitimate fears that AI could lead to massive job losses, a flooding of the media ecosystem with completely inaccurate information, or thousands of self-driving cars just stopping, and whatever street chaos that could beget.

“We got some consensus on some things,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told NBC News. “I asked everyone in the room, does government need to play a role in regulating AI and every single person raised their hand, even though they had diverse views. So that gives us a message here that we have to try to act, as difficult as the process might be.”

Per NBC News, Schumer also invited labor, civil rights, and national security officials. But with all of the tech CEOs present, you have many people onboard whose sole concern with AI is hyping it to investors and promising eventual profits. So surely they have a goal of selling this as an all-powerful new tool and an investment opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

But how “all-powerful” is this tool? Let’s take a look at a clearly AI-written article that’s been up nearly 24 hours on news aggregator, on the death of former NBA player Brandon Hunter.


Yes, this article actually has the headline “Brandon Hunter useless at 42.”


It gets worse as it goes on! The non-bylined article adds that "Former NBA participant Brandon Hunter, who beforehand performed for the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, has handed away on the age of 42,” and adds that “Hunter’s expertise led to his choice because the 56th general decide within the 2003 NBA Draft.”

So the tech titans can whip up hysteria over the almighty new AI that can supposedly do everything better than humans. But there is no guarantee the technology will ever live up to that potential, and do realize the CEOs are courting investors with hype.

They can say AI might kill humanity. But in its current feeble state, AI is more, shall we say, useless at 42.

Related: Google's Sundar Pichai and OpenAI's Sam Altman Summoned to White House For Meeting About Risks of AI [SFist]

Image: WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg visit before attending the "AI Insight Forum" outside the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers are seeking input from business leaders in the artificial intelligence sector, and some of their most ardent opponents, for writing legislation governing the rapidly evolving technology. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)