Director, Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC)
April 06, 2023
Recently, the Future of Life Foundation issued an open letter asking for "all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4" with the reason that “Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive, and their risks will be manageable." The letter further calls for “AI developers….[to] work with policymakers to dramatically accelerate development of robust AI governance systems."
Policymakers must take a proactive role in the development of governance structures that provide both the business community and every American with the necessary trust in the technology. At the same time, the U.S. cannot afford to pause development while its competitors are accelerating their efforts to lead. The U.S. must continue research efforts while building trustworthy AI frameworks.
The Negative Impact on Global Leadership
While the business community is supportive of necessary governance structures for technology development, these calls for immediate pauses and potential moratoria in the development of AI technologies is deeply concerning. It is safe to assume that non-democratically aligned nations would not implement such a pause but instead use it to obtain a strategic advantage.
China set out its ambitious 2030 plan, which states they are actively working to be the “global leader” in the development of Artificial Intelligence. Just a few weeks ago, the Chinese search engine “Baidu” released its generative AI “ERNIE Bot,” which looks to compete with other generative AI models. And to further complicate the global leadership dynamic, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping declared a "new era" of cooperation between China and Russia, including the development of Artificial Intelligence.
The U.S. and its allies should be the ones developing and advancing ethical Artificial Intelligence technologies that align with our common democratic goals and values. Any effort to pause further innovation will leave us unable to advance these essential values as others move forward without us.
How the U.S. Can Reaffirm its AI Leadership
As Eric Schmidt, Chair of the Special Competitiveness Studies Project, stated during a recent congressional hearing, "Can you imagine technology that imbues how we think, how we teach, how we entertain and how we interact with each other, imbued with Chinese values, not American values…the most important thing to understand is that we need to win because we want America to win."
While that may be easier said than done, the U.S. has been at the forefront of developing governance frameworks to assist in the thoughtful advancement of technology. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released A.I. Risk Management Framework, for example, looks to assist in “managing risks to individuals, organizations, and society associated with artificial intelligence (AI),” and applies to the development of large language models. The work of the U.S. with its NATO allies to establish a review board to govern the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence is another promising example.
These critical efforts must be a part of the dialogue as U.S. officials continue collaborating with key partners and allies work to develop global governance frameworks that advance our common democratic goals and values. The U.S. Chamber’s AI Commission on Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation was formed for that exact reason—to answer critical questions about the governance of Artificial Intelligence. The Commission, which is co-chaired by two former members of Congress, John Delaney and Mike Ferguson, published their recommendations last month, which include “five pillars of AI governance.”
As emphasized in those recommendations, “the United States must drive the development and implementation of laws and codes of conduct focused on promoting human rights and innovation” as “these issues are of utmost importance to the United States and the economic wellbeing and safety of the global community.”
This is not a time to pause. This is a time for American leadership.