Elon Musk Meets US Lawmakers To Discuss AI Regulation

Elon Musk meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others, after being spotted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday

Elon Musk has confirmed that he has met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other US lawmakers after being spotted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Musk in his tweet confirmed the meeting concerned artificial intelligence regulation. Musk has previously expressed his concerns and worries about AI on multiple occasions.

The meeting comes after the US government earlier this month began seeking public input on potential rules to govern the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the years ahead.

Image credit: US Senate


Senator Schumer had recently launched an effort to develop a new framework to foster AI while mitigating its biggest risks.

Schumer’s high-level plans focus on transparency for AI systems, requiring independent experts to test the technologies ahead of public release, and requiring disclosure of the people, places and ways involved in the technology’s development.

To this end the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) “launched a request for comment (RFC) to advance its efforts to ensure artificial intelligence (AI) systems work as claimed – and without causing harm.”

Last month the US Chamber of Commerce called for the regulation of artificial intelligence technology – a surprising move considering its traditional anti-regulatory stance of the business lobby group.

The US lobby group was concerned that AI technology could potentially become a national security risk, and is also concerned that its arrival could hurt business growth in the years ahead.

Musk meeting

And now this week it seems that these public consultations are happening with leading figures within the tech sector, but only Elon Musk has so far publicly acknowledged the move.

“Met with @SenSchumer and many members of Congress about artificial intelligence regulation today,” Musk tweeted. “That which affects safety of the public has, over time, become regulated to ensure that companies do not cut corners.”

“AI has great power to do good and evil,” he tweeted. “Better the former.”

Vocal critic

Musk has been one of the most critics of the current fast pace of AI development.

As evidenced last month AI researchers and tech industry figures including Elon Musk signed an open letter warning that AI systems can pose “profound risks to society and humanity”.

The open letter, also signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, called for a “pause” on the development of cutting-edge AI systems for at least six months to “give society a chance to adapt”.

Both Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, and others including the late Professor Stephen Hawking have warned about the dangers of AI in previous years.

Indeed Professor Hawking warned artificial intelligence could spell the end of life as we know it on Planet Earth. Professor Hawking also predicted that humanity has just 100 years left before the machines take over.

Musk meanwhile was a co-founder of OpenAI – though he resigned from the board of the organisation in 2018.

Musk no longer owns a stake in OpenAI, and since then he has been critical of the company and warned its strayed from its initial goals.

Musk previously stated he believes AI poses a real threat to humans if unchecked, and in 2014 tweeted that artificial intelligence could evolve to be “potentially more dangerous than nukes”.

In 2015 Musk donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) – a non-profit advisory board dedicated to weighing up the potential of AI technology to benefit humanity.