Artificial Intelligence’s Congressional Debut
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Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Ukrainian army Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said Tuesday the country’s air defenses had shot down 18 Russian missiles, including six hypersonic Kinzhal ballistic missiles, during an overnight barrage. Russian state media had previously declared the sophisticated hypersonic weapons “impossible” to detect or intercept.
- Russian media reported Monday authorities had arrested a Russian former employee of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, Robert Shonov, on charges of “collaboration on a confidential basis with a foreign state or international or foreign organization.” The State Department condemned the detention yesterday, calling the Russian government’s allegations “wholly without merit” and noting that most diplomatic missions—including the Russian embassy in the United States—employ local staff. Shonov was taken to Lefortovo Prison in Moscow, where Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is being held on espionage charges.
- President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met at the White House Tuesday to continue negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, emerging optimistic but without a deal ahead of the estimated June 1 default deadline. McCarthy suggested Tuesday they may reach an agreement by the end of the week, and Biden said he would cut short an overseas trip this week to focus on striking a deal.
- The Secret Service is investigating an intrusion last month at National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s home, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday. Sullivan’s permanent Secret Service detail reportedly did not notice an allegedly intoxicated man walking into Sullivan’s home in Washington, D.C., at 3 a.m. one night in April. There’s no evidence the man knew whose house he had entered, and he reportedly left after Sullivan confronted him. A spokesman for the Secret Service said the agency would be conducting a full investigation into why the intruder was able to breach Sullivan’s home unnoticed.
- An Internal Revenue Service supervisory agent working on the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes was removed from his post after claiming to have evidence the Biden administration was improperly interfering in the probe, the agent’s lawyer told lawmakers this week. The employee, who is seeking whistleblower protection, says his entire team was also removed from the case at the request of the Justice Department. The Justice Department declined to comment.
- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron notched a double-digit victory in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday and will face Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in November. Cameron—a Trump-endorsed candidate and longtime ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—fended off a challenge from former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft, who had been backed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
- North Carolina state lawmakers voted Tuesday to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that prohibits most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for rape and incest (up to 20 weeks of gestation), “life-limiting anomalies” (up to 24 weeks), and life of the mother (no limit). The bill also appropriates money for child and foster care programs, contraception, and paid parental leave for teachers and government employees. North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers have pitched the legislation as a model for states around the country.
- The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales rose 0.4 percent month-over-month in April—the first such increase since January—after declining 0.7 percent in March.
- Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Lucas died Monday at 85. A professor at the University of Chicago for four decades, he popularized the inclusion of rational expectations in macroeconomics and introduced what became known as the “Lucas critique”—the idea that policymakers need to consider how a given decision will influence individuals’ behavior when modeling the effects of said decision.
Members of Congress might not agree on much, but at a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, they all affirmed it’s crucial to get artificial intelligence regulation right. Lawmakers compared the technology to the breakthroughs of the printing press, internet, and atomic bomb, while Sam Altman—CEO of OpenAI, which creates AI tools including ChatGPT—warned that “if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong.”
Cheer up, ChatGPT told TMD: “Regulating AI doesn’t mean we have to be AI-fraid of it!”
We’ll keep writing our own jokes for now. And ChatGPT’s reassurances won’t do much for lawmakers who expect AI tools to shape elections, news, and labor markets—and are worried about repeating regulatory mistakes made with social media companies. Tuesday, they asked Altman and other experts for help regulating AI without quashing its useful attributes.