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Elon Musk calls for federal department of AI after Capitol Hill summit

SpaceX, Twitter and electric car maker Tesla CEO Elon Musk, arrives for a US Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2023. 

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called for a federal department of AI in a conversation with reporters following a Capitol Hill summit that featured high-profile tech leaders, activists and researchers.

Musk arrived at the Capitol in a black Tesla on Wednesday morning to share his thoughts with Congress and other tech executives, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Musk has previously said that unchecked artificial intelligence presents a dire risk to humanity and reiterated that stance in his comments Wednesday.

“I think this meeting could go down in history as important to the future of civilization,” Musk told reporters after the summit. AI development, the billionaire continued, “is potentially harmful to all humans everywhere.”

Musk expressed optimism about the meeting, saying that there seemed to be a “strong consensus.” Musk thought it likely that federal AI department could operate similarly to the Federal Aviation Administration or the Securities and Exchange Commission, adding that those in the space had to be “proactive while reactive.”

Musk in July launched his own AI firm, xAI. There has been little news from within the company, but Musk has made repeated public statements that AI development must have strong guardrails.

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