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Sen. Paul issues dire warning about government use of artificial intelligence, as tech leaders testify on Capitol Hill


Sen. Rand Paul issued a warning about the use of artificial intelligence in government surveillance during a Homeland Security committee hearing Tuesday.

Paul is the ranking member of the Senate committee, which heard testimony on the growing use of AI. In ominous opening comments referencing George Orwell, the Kentucky senator’s concerns focused primarily on what he deemed government misuse of AI to suppress constitutionally protected speech.

"The government is using your hard-earned tax dollars to surveil and censor your protected speech. Artificial Intelligence is only going to make it easier for the government to do this and harder to detect," the lawmaker cautioned. "This should not be a partisan issue. We must get to the bottom of how the federal government uses artificial intelligence to violate the privacy and civil liberties of the American people before it's too late."

Jacob Siegel, who has written on AI for tech site BGR, testified that the emerging technology appears to be creating an arms race – and containing AI research is unrealistic.

"There is no chance that the U.S. government and U.S.-based corporations are going to abandon a technology this powerful," he said. "Nor would such an outcome necessarily be desirable, given that it would cede the space to competitors like China. We seem to be caught in a trap."

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman, whose company produced the ChatGPT chatbot, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to also sound alarms about the technology, pressing for the creation of regulations around AI.

The CEO said one safeguard could be the creation of an international regulatory committee or agency led by the US.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.