Opinion: From AM radio to AI

The Ford Motor Co. plans to discontinue AM radios in most of its 2024 vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The Ford Motor Co. plans to discontinue AM radios in most of its 2024 vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The varying concerns of Congress were on full display this week over issues that might be neighbors in the alphabet, but couldn’t be further away from each other in terms of technology.

On Monday, three Georgia lawmakers — U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany — joined in a letter urging automakers not to drop AM radio receivers from their vehicles.

“AM radio is a lifeline,” the bipartisan group wrote, pressing the auto industry to keep AM in new cars and trucks. They are especially worried about drivers in rural areas.

While the future of AM radio in your car might seem quaint, lawmakers were also grappling this week with AI — artificial intelligence — which could represent the next big computer ‘revolution.’

Some of you may have fiddled around with ChatGPT, an advanced internet chatbot that instantly churns out seemingly human answers to all sorts of questions.

“It’s time for Atlanta to embrace the power and potential of AI,” the ChatGPT stated after I asked it to write a column on artificial intelligence.

Loaded with massive amounts of data, the ChatGPT has already passed parts of medical exams and bar exams; it has alarmed teachers, who worry about how students might use it for term papers.

But AI might have a more immediate impact on your line of work.

At a U.S. Senate hearing this week, ChatGPT CEO Samuel Altman said AI is likely to eliminate low-skilled jobs which can be easily automated.

“Like with all technological revolutions, I expect there to be significant impact on jobs,” Altman said.

Maybe the oddest part of Altman’s testimony on Capitol Hill was his very public plea for the feds to regulate artificial intelligence systems — but how to do that wasn’t very clear.

“We’re going to have to define what it is that we’re regulating,” U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff told Altman, repeatedly prodding him to weigh in with specifics.

At the same hearing, some Senators expressed fears that AI could be used to influence elections, especially through intentional misinformation and disinformation.

“It’s one of my areas of greatest concern,” Altman said.

Just imagine an artificial intelligence tool that’s filled with bad data so that it echoes Donald Trump’s never-ending false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Or foreign actors using AI to peddle disinformation and meddle in U.S. politics.

“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong,” Altman said, in a somewhat startling warning.

Politics and artificial intelligence. It might be the next thing you didn’t want to have to worry about.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com