Hearing comes as lawmakers and agencies in the U.S. and worldwide scramble to address AI in the wake of headline-grabbing developments over the past year.
Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg are among the big names from Big Tech slated to appear at the Senate’s closed-door AI Insight Forum on Sept. 13.
Mr. Schumer, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) are the bipartisan leaders of the forum. Mr. Rounds and Mr. Heinrich are co-chairs of the Senate AI Caucus, in which Mr. Young also participates.
Mr. Musk of Twitter/X and SpaceX, Meta’s Mr. Zuckerberg, and Microsoft founder Mr. Gates will be joined by other top figures in the tech world, including Sam Altman of OpenAI and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet.
In addition, Charles Rivkin of the Motion Picture Association, a film trade organization, will be present. Mr. Rivkin’s appearance comes during an ongoing, months-long strike by members of the Writers Guild of America. The striking writers are concerned in part that ChatGPT and comparable tools could replace them.
Another Democratic mega-donor, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, is also expected at the event, as is Randi Weingarten of the National Federation of Teachers.
In his Sept. 7 comments previewing the meeting, Mr. Schumer said the forum is going to be just “the first of a series of forums that will give our committees the knowledge base and thought insights to draft the right kind of policies.”
“It will be a meeting unlike any other that we have seen in the Senate in a very long time, perhaps ever: a coming together of top voices in business, civil rights, defense, research, labor, the arts, all together, in one room, having a much-needed conversation about how Congress can tackle AI,” he added.
“One of the questions that I’m asking myself is, what’s the threshold at which you begin to regulate something? There are going to be applications for AI that are very low risk, and we don’t want to stifle innovation, but there are also going to be applications that have very real-world consequences,” Mr. Heinrich said at the Washington Post Live event.
The star-studded Senate meeting occurs less than a week after a Senate energy committee hearing dedicated to AI and the Department of Energy.
It will take place on Capitol Hill the same day as a House hearing led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). That hearing, held under the auspices of the oversight committee, will have a similar focus on AI and agencies, though with more of a skew toward the defense bureaucracy.
“Strict guardrails are needed to protect Americans’ privacy and prevent them from being victimized by algorithmic bias. This hearing is a great opportunity to discuss how AI can best be safely integrated into federal agency operations in a manner that enhances national and homeland security, streamlines service delivery, and make government more efficient,” Ms. Mace said.
The May report from the Department of Education called algorithmic discrimination an AI risk “of the highest importance.”
Biden Meets Tech Leaders, Activists
At a June meeting in San Francisco, President Joe Biden convened with tech executives and other leaders and activists, including Mr. Harris.
In a statement released prior to that event, a White House spokesperson said the experts who gathered were “outspoken on the impact of AI on jobs, children, bias and prejudice,” among other topics.
“We [need] innovation on guardrails so we can find creative and new ways to protect our kids, our privacy, prevent racial bias, prevent doomsday scenarios,” Mr. Schumer said on Sept. 7.
“If you’re going to have a platform that is going to drive a car or be in charge of a physical system, we need to understand the risks involved there, and we need to be able to test those products and know with a great deal of certainty how they’re going to behave,” Mr. Heinrich said at the Washington Post Live Event.
Reuters contributed to this report.