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Blumenthal played his own deepfake to warn Congress about the dangers of AI

U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal
Ayannah Brown
Connecticut Public
FILE: U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal talking with press

Members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, began discussing regulations on artificial intelligence at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Blumenthal opened his remarks with a pre-recorded statement:

“Too often, we have seen what happens when technology outpaces regulation: the unbridled exploitation of personal data, the proliferation of disinformation, and the deepening of societal inequalities. We have seen how algorithmic biases can perpetuate discrimination and prejudice, and how the lack of transparency can undermine public trust. This is not the future we want.”

He then revealed that the clip was faked by AI software. The voice was generated by a voice cloning software that used his floor speeches to mimic his voice; the words were written by ChatGPT, an open-source and free-to-use chatbot.

The hearing included testimonies from lawmakers from both parties, as well as Sam Altman, CEO of the company behind ChatGPT. Altman himself has said he is “a little bit scared” of ChatGPT, a sentiment Blumenthal echoed.

“What if it had provided an endorsement of Ukraine surrendering or Vladimir Putin’s leadership?” Blumenthal said.

He listed other dangerous uses for artificial intelligence, many of which have already been spotted in the real world.

“Weaponized disinformation, housing discrimination, the harassment of women and impersonation fraud, voice cloning, deep fakes,” Blumenthal said.

He acknowledged the positive economic and social economic consequences of AI, but also emphasized its dangers.

“For me, perhaps the biggest nightmare is the looming new industrial revolution,” Blumenthal said. “The displacement of millions of workers, the need to prepare for this new industrial revolution in skill training and relocation that may be required.”

Blumenthal concluded his remarks by saying that this would be the first of several hearings on the matter, but did not reference any specific plans. AI experts say that Congress is already lagging behind and will need to move swiftly to make any significant change.

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