US regulators on Tuesday took a first step towards drawing up new rules on artificial intelligence that could see the White House put the brakes on new technologies such as ChatGPT.
The US Department of Commerce put out a call for input from industry actors that would serve to inform the Biden administration in drafting regulation on AI.
US President Joe Biden last week said the jury is still out on whether AI poses a danger to society, but the move on Tuesday signaled that the White House is open to setting some ground rules.
“Just as food and cars are not released into the market without proper assurance of safety, so too AI systems should provide assurance to the public, government, and businesses that they are fit for purpose,” the commerce department said in a statement.
The United States is home to the biggest innovators of tech and AI, including Microsoft-backed OpenAI, which created ChatGPT, but trails internationally in regulating the industry.
Biden has urged Congress to pass laws putting strict limits on big tech, but these have little chance of making headway given political divisions among lawmakers.
The lack of rules has given Silicon Valley freedom to put out new products and stoked fears that AI technologies will wreak havoc on society before the government can catch up.
Last month, billionaire mogul Elon Musk and a range of CEOs and experts called for a pause in the development of powerful AI.
OpenAI has asked that its AI systems be subject to “rigorous safety evaluations” and said that comprehensive regulation of the sector was needed.
“Our inquiry will inform policies to support AI audits, risk and safety assessments, certifications, and other tools that can create earned trust in AI systems,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce.