Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are among the tech execs who will attend the Senate’s first AI forum

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and other leaders in the tech industry will gather at the Capitol next month for the first in a series of policy forums to discuss ways to regulate artificial intelligence, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday.

In addition to Musk and Zuckerberg, other confirmed chief executives include Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, OpenAI’s Sam Altman and NVIDIA’s Jensen Huang, as well as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is a co-founder and major investor of OpenAI, the parent company of the AI chatbot ChatGPT, while Zuckerberg is the chief executive of Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

Representatives from advocacy, civil rights, worker and creative groups also will attend the closed-door bipartisan gathering on Sept. 13 organized by Schumer, the New York Democrat’s spokesperson said.

In securing some of the biggest names in tech, Schumer plans to make a giant splash for the first of what he’s dubbed “AI Insight Forums.” The discussions will form a foundation for senators as they begin to draft legislation to regulate the fast-moving AI industry, which experts and lawmakers have said can do enormous good but also can lead to mass worker displacement and be used for things like misinformation campaigns and election interference.

“We have no choice but to acknowledge that AI’s changes are coming and in many cases are already here,” Schumer said in June during a major address on AI. “We ignore them at our own peril. Many want to ignore AI because it’s so complex. But when it comes to AI, we cannot be ostriches sticking our heads in the sand.”

The September forum comes after Schumer arranged three briefings before the August congressional recess to help educate senators on AI and generate momentum for the chamber to introduce and pass regulations on the emerging technology by the end of the year.

But some have scratched their heads at Schumer’s new approach in the Senate, which typically develops major policy legislation through committees of jurisdiction. Schumer has said the committees will work in tandem with the insight forums to develop legislation.

“You’ve got a lot of folks who have been putting the time in to learn the subject, doing a lot of outreach to the stakeholder community, kind of synthesizing the best ideas. And to me, that’s a process that you ought to let work,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., a senior member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said this summer.

“And if you want to accelerate it, that’s fine, But I don’t know that creating a parallel system is the right way to do this. I think the committee’s want to work. This is in their wheelhouse. Let them produce the results.”

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