BOSTON — When U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss decided to give a speech on a bill that would create a center for artificial intelligence between the U.S. and Israel, he chose to let the AI do the talking.
The short two-paragraph speech read by the Democrat from Massachusetts on the floor of the US House on Wednesday was generated by the online AI chatbot ChatGPT. His aides said they believe it is the first time an AI-written speech has been read in Congress.
Auchincloss said he had asked the system in part to “write 100 words to deliver to the floor of the House of Representatives” about the legislation. Auchincloss said he had to refine the prompt several times to produce the text he eventually read.
The bill, which Auchincloss is resubmitting, would establish a joint US-Israeli AI Center in the United States to serve as a hub for AI research and development in the public, private and education sectors.
Auchincloss said part of the decision to read a text generated by ChatGPT was to fuel the debate about AI and the challenges and opportunities it creates. He said he doesn’t want to see a repeat of the advent of social media, which started small and spiraled out of control faster than Congress could respond.
“I am the youngest parent in the Democratic caucus, AI will become a part of my life and it could be a general purpose technology for my kids,” Auchincloss, 34, said.
The release of ChatGPT and other AI programs available on the web is already challenging teachers who now have to grapple with the possibility of students submitting AI-generated essays.
Researchers also worry that AI chatbots could boost efforts to spread misinformation and propaganda.
OpenAI, the non-profit organization that created ChatGPT, has acknowledged on its website that ChatGPT “may occasionally give incorrect answers” and that its answers are sometimes misleading as a result of the way it learns. It recommends users to check whether the answers are correct or not,
The text generated from Auchincloss’s prompt contains sentences such as: “We must work with international partners such as the Israeli government to ensure that the United States maintains a leading role in AI research and development and in responsibly explore the many opportunities that evolving technologies offer.”
“There were probably a dozen or so of my colleagues on the floor. I bet none of them knew it was written by a computer,” he said.
Lawmakers and others should not be hostile to the new technology, but also shouldn’t wait too long to create policies or new laws to help regulate it, Auchincloss said.
In particular, he argued that the country needs a “public counterweight” to the big tech companies that would help ensure that smaller developers and universities have access to the same cloud computing, advanced algorithms and raw data as larger companies.