Today, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff testified before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on the risk artificial intelligence and its regulation poses to freedom of speech and knowledge-creation.
As Greg said during his testimony, emerging technologies often raise questions about the First Amendment’s application. But First Amendment principles are timeless. And as FIRE has learned over the past 25 years, it’s important to fight government attempts to regulate new technologies in a way that restricts free speech rights and access to information.
“[T]he most chilling threat that the government poses in the context of emerging AI is regulatory overreach that limits its potential as a tool for contributing to human knowledge,” Greg said. “A regulatory panic could result in a small number of Americans deciding for everyone else what speech, ideas, and even questions are permitted in the name of ‘safety’ or ‘alignment.’”
Rather than reinventing the First Amendment to accommodate fears surrounding the rise of AI, Greg urged legislators to work within our country’s existing laws and First Amendment doctrine to harness the positive potential of this emerging technology.
“We are on the threshold of a revolution in the creation and discovery of knowledge,” Greg said. “AI’s potential is humbling; indeed, even frightening. But as the history of the printing press shows, attempts to put the genie back in the bottle will fail. Despite the profound disruption the printing press caused in Europe in the short term, the long-term contribution to art, science, and again, knowledge was without equal.”
Greg also sounded the alarm about the use of AI as a tool that will be used by governments to more efficiently and effectively censor speech on the internet.
Greg was joined by investigative journalist Lee Fang, reporter Katelynn Richardson, and Norman Eisen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
You can read Greg’s opening statement below.