The unprecedented meeting took place as the US Senate gears up to draft legislation that will regulate the rapidly advancing AI industry, which many of the world’s best minds fear could destroy humanity if left unchecked.
The gathering brought 22 of the most influential voices in the tech sector – who had a combined net worth of over $400billion – and 100 senators under one roof, bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and the nation’s capital.
The private meeting was a crash course for legislators on how best to regulate AI: a technical achievement which some of these same industry leaders likened to the ‘extinction’-level risk of nuclear weapons.
Those who fear AI fear it could surpass human intelligence and develop independent thinking. This means it would no longer need or listen to humans, in a worst-case scenario stealing nuclear codes, create pandemics and spark world wars.
So, who was at the meeting?
Some of the most powerful people in America assembled in Washington, DC , today to help shape the future of artificial intelligence ( AI ) safeguards. From left, they are: Janet Murguía, the president of Unidos US, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization; Elon Musk, the man who needs no introduction; Labor federation chief Liz Shuler; Charles Rivkin represented cinema, where many believe AI could write, direct and produce entire movies from scratch; Sam Altman, the brains behind ChatGPT; Sundar Pichai, the boss of Google; Satya Nadella, Bill Gates’ successor; Rumman Chowdhury, CEO of Humane Intelligence; Jensen-Huang, the boss of AI pioneers and PC parts company Nvidia; Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook inventor; and IBM boss Arvnid Kirshna.
In additional to his reputation for massive wealth, Elon Musk is known for his influential role in AI.
As the CEO of Tesla, he has been a driving force behind the development of autonomous vehicles, pushing the boundaries of AI in the automotive industry with features like Tesla’s Autopilot.
The 52-year-old has also been a vocal advocate for AI safety and has co-founded OpenAI to ensure responsible AI development.
After the meeting with US lawmakers today, Musk has been a vocal proponent of AI safety, and said a ‘referee’ is needed to monitor systems.
X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk leaves a US Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 13
- Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg – Net worth: $109 billion
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), oversees one of the world’s leading social media and tech conglomerates, including: Instagram, Threads, Facebook and WhatsApp.
While AI plays a crucial role in Meta’s operations, including content recommendations and augmented reality, Zuckerberg has also ventured into AI research with projects like Jarvis, his personal AI assistant.
Meta introduced Llama 2, a model similar to ChatGPT, that could challenge what is one of the fastest-growing apps of all time. At the conference today, the 39-year-old pushed for ‘open source’ technology, arguing that open-sourcing infrastructure will minimize potential safety risks and maximize access.
Facebook co-founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits in his seat inside a bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum at the Capitol in Washington, September 13
- Google, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai – Net worth: $1.3 billion
As the CEO of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, 51, manages Google’s parent company, which is at the forefront of AI research. Google’s AI innovations range from improving search algorithms to pioneering developments in natural language processing with products like Google Assistant.
Pichai told Wired that he is not in a rush to catch up on OpenAI. He said releasing Google’s AI products before ChatGPT was launched ‘wouldn’t have worked out as well.’
Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer, Alphabet (parent company of Google and YouTube), appears at the United States Senate Bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum in the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, September 13
- OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: $250 million
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, is arguably the most powerful person in AI development today. The future of AI will be impacted by his beliefs and actions.
The 38-year-old has played a central role in advancing AI safeguards. Under his leadership, OpenAI has focused on creating AI technologies that attempt to benefit society, including notable features like GPT-3.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, leaves the ‘AI Insight Forum’ at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, in Washington, DC
- Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang: $40 billion
Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, has steered the company towards AI dominance. Nvidia’s GPUs are pivotal in accelerating AI workloads, powering everything from deep learning research to AI-driven gaming experiences. The 60-year-old founded Nvidia in 1993, which originally worked to create increasingly immersive video games. Today, Nvidia is the world’s ‘dominant producer of the microprocessors that power the AI revolution,’ according to the Atlantic, pushing Nvidia’s stock to skyrocket nearly 200 percent over the past year to reach a $1.1 trillion valuation.
CEO Jensen Huang arrives for the the Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum in the Russell Senate Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 13 September
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: $320 million
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has overseen the company’s significant investments in AI. Microsoft Azure’s AI services, as well as the acquisition of LinkedIn and GitHub, have solidified Microsoft’s position as a key player in AI development and cloud services. Nadella, 56, believes the benefits of AI far outweigh potential consequences. He told Wired that he can’t imagine life without AI.
The United States Senate Bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum in the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
- IBM CEO Arvind Krishna: $42 million
Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, has led the company in AI and quantum computing endeavors. IBM’s Watson AI platform has been a trailblazer in AI applications across various industries, from healthcare to finance. Krishna, 61, is a strong supporter of the future of AI, claiming ‘the world needs AI to help offset productivity losses because of declines in the working age population,’ according to Fortune. While he believe white-collar jobs will be among the first to be impacted by AI, he ultimately says AI will create more jobs than it will replace.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna arrives for the the Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum in the Russell Senate Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 13
- Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates: $129 billion
Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, has been a long-standing advocate for technology and AI. Although he stepped down from his CEO role, Gates continues to be involved in philanthropic efforts, including funding AI research to address global challenges like healthcare and climate change. The 67-year-old believes AI has potential to change the future of health and education. He said could transform production systems worldwide, according to CNBC.
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates (C) departs after joining other tech leaders at the Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum
- AFL-CIO labor federation President Liz Shuler
Today, Shuler argued that workers must be central to AI policy. Ahead of the meeting, Shuler, 53, released a statement expressing her concern for workers: ‘Public support for unions is at near record highs because workers are tired of being guinea pigs in an AI live experiment. The labor movement knows AI can empower workers and increase prosperity – but only if workers are centered in its creation and the rules that govern it.’
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler speaks to members of the news media after leaving the Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum in the Russell Senate Building
Some additional top tech tycoons who were summoned before Congress:
Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association; Janet Murguía, the president of Unidos US; Rumman Chowdhury, CEO of Humane Intelligence; Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and Chair of the Special Competitive Studies Project; Gary Kelly executive chairman of the board, Southwest Airlines; Clément Delangue, CEO of Hugging Face; and Maya Wiley, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights.