The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, have greatly expanded in recent years. AI has the ability to help all sectors of the economy while easing the workload for many workers.

AI, such as ChatGPT, has the ability to write essays, poems or can provide detailed answers to many questions. Other programs can create works of art in a matter of seconds.

These are just some of the benefits of using AI, but it also comes with dangers for how the rapidly growing technology could impact people’s lives and concerns over the public’s safety if there are no guardrails are put in place.

California Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, joined “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen to go over both the potential benefits of AI and the potential dangers it poses without proper oversight.

“I liken AI right now to the steam engine, which was quite disruptive when it was introduced into society,” Lieu said. “But in a few years [AI] is going to be in warp drive — with a personality — and we’re not prepared for that.”

A potential benefit Lieu sees from AI is the ability for it to ease the amount of work people will have to do in the future. It could lead to a change in the total number of hours required for people to work every week.

“The biggest potential is really to allow people to work more efficiently. We’re going to be able to essentially use AI and do what we need to do in a four-day workweek that we do now in a five-day work week,” Lieu said.

There are potential dangers from using AI, specifically when it comes to weapons that can be accessed and launched automatically. Lieu said this would pose a major safety threat, and he is trying to prevent AI from accessing weapons of war.

“I’m working on legislation right now that basically says no matter how good AI gets, we’re not going to allow it to launch nuclear weapons by itself, there always has to be a human in the loop,” Lieu said.

A computer science major, Lieu has been one of the first lawmakers to fully utilize AI systems’ like ChatGPT. He’s used the program to write a New York Times editorial. He also enlisted the help of ChatGPT with writing legislation focused on regulating AI.

“I encourage everyone to try out ChatGPT ... if you use it, within a few minutes, you’re going to viscerally understand where AI can go and how amazing it is,” Lieu said.

Lieu is working on legislation to create a bipartisan commission that would advise Congress about how to implement regulation of certain AIs.

“We’re not going to, for example, regulate the AI in your smart toaster, but if there’s AI in an airplane or fast moving objects or other things that could kill you, then I think that should be regulated,” Lieu said.

When it comes to Congress legislating AI despite it being a new and complex field that many members might not fully grasp, Lieu compares it to Congress creating the FDA to regulate pharmaceutical drugs.

“You don’t have to know how these algorithms work, but you do need to know what they could do,” Lieu said.

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