“We believe that the benefits of the tools we have deployed so far vastly outweigh the risks, but ensuring their safety is vital to our work,” Mr. Altman said.
But after nearly three hours of questioning in Tuesday’s hearing, it was unclear how lawmakers would respond to the call to regulate A.I. The track record of Congress on tech regulations is grim. Dozens of privacy, speech, and safety bills have failed because of partisan bickering and fierce opposition by tech giants.
Lawmakers brought up the idea of an independent agency to oversee A.I., rules that force companies to disclose how their models work and the data sets they use, and antitrust rules to prevent companies like Microsoft and Google from monopolizing the nascent industry.
Lawmakers were generally friendly toward Mr. Altman, thanking him for his private meetings with them and for agreeing to appear in the hearing. They approached him as an educator.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Senate panel, said the hearing was the first in series to learn more about the potential benefits and harms of A.I. to eventually “write the rules” for it. He also acknowledged Congress’s failure to keep up with the introduction of new technologies in the past.
“Our goal is to demystify and hold accountable those new technologies to avoid some of the mistakes of the past,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Congress failed to meet the moment on social media.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.