Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Congressman Who Codes Says AI Freaks Him Out

January 26, 2023

The New York Times published an essay on January 23 written by Congressman Ted Lieu, a member of the House of Representatives.

First, read the paragraph below from his essay:

“Imagine a world where autonomous weapons roam the streets, decisions about your life are made by AI systems that perpetuate societal biases and hackers use AI to launch devastating cyberattacks. This dystopian future may sound like science fiction, but the truth is that without proper regulations for the development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it could become a reality. The rapid advancements in AI technology have made it clear that the time to act is now to ensure that AI is used in ways that are safe, ethical and beneficial for society. Failure to do so could lead to a future where the risks of AI far outweigh its benefits.”

Here’s the kicker. Congressman Lieu didn’t write that paragraph. It was generated by “the talk of the town” AI program ChatGPT. All he did was log into ChatGPT and ask it to “write an attention grabbing first paragraph of an Op-Ed on why artificial intelligence should be regulated.”

He was surprised how quickly the AI drafted a compelling argument that reflected his own views. While he is excited about the possible ways AI can advance society, he is “freaked out” by AI, especially AI that is left unchecked and unregulated.

He notes that algorithms in social media have helped radicalize foreign terrorists and domestic white supremacists.

He also points to facial recognition systems used by law enforcement which are less accurate for people with darker skin, resulting in possible misidentification of innocent minorities. Of particular note is that Madison Square Garden (MSG) has used facial recognition to ban lawyers from entering the venue who worked at firms representing clients in litigation against MSG. As he said, “Left unregulated, facial recognition can result in an intrusive public and private surveillance state, where both the government and private corporations can know exactly where you are and what you are doing.”

The Congressman says we need is a dedicated agency to regulate AI. An agency is faster than the legislative process, is staffed with experts and can reverse its decisions if it makes an error. He notes that creating such an agency will be a difficult and huge undertaking because AI is complicated and still not well understood.

He understands that that a sudden move like that would not get through Congress, so he is introducing legislation to create a nonpartisan AI Commission to provide recommendations on how to structure a federal agency to regulate AI, what types of AI should be regulated and what standards should apply.

As he concludes, “The fourth industrial revolution is here. We can harness and regulate A.I. to create a more utopian society or risk having an unchecked, unregulated A.I. push us toward a more dystopian future.”

Read that first paragraph again, the one written by AI. Scary stuff.

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:   Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology