Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized a series of upcoming meetings with AI industry leaders in a conversation with NBC on Sept. 12.
There, Warren commented on the closed nature of proceedings, stating:
“These tech billionaires want to lobby Congress behind closed doors with no questions asked. That’s just plain wrong … They [want to] shape regulation so that [they] are the ones who continue to dominate and make money. They should not have a forum to do that, especially a closed-door forum.”
The summit will include Tesla and X executive Elon Musk, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, among others.
As Warren suggests, the forum will be restricted in multiple ways. It will not be open to the press or the public, and senators attending events will only be able to submit written questions to the numerous high-profile tech leaders set to participate.
Warren’s complaints go against the summit’s primary organizer, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is a member of her own Democratic party.
Indeed, her objections mark a rare show of bipartisanship, as she is not the only senator with objections to the plan. One Republican senator, John Thune, described the summit model as inefficient. Another Republican senator, Josh Hawley, called the closed nature of proceedings “ridiculous” and complained about the possibility of attending tech leaders influencing lawmakers for their own financial benefit.
Schumer, for his part, has defended the upcoming summit by stating that a wide variety of participants will attend — not just top tech executives. His statements suggest that the summit is meant to help produce safe innovation through the normal lawmaking process.
Warren is hard on tech and crypto
Warren has otherwise urged for heavy restrictions on the tech sector. Her 2020 presidential platform included a “Break Up Big Tech” plan to improve competition. In July 2023, she asked for a new federal agency to regulate companies in the AI sector.
She is likewise known for her stringent positions on cryptocurrency. Warren has criticized crypto’s role in crime, the drug trade, sanctions evasion, and undertaxation, as well as its energy consumption and the effects of fraud on the public. She has also campaigned on creating an “anti-crypto army” and has advanced restrictive legislation.
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