Earlier this month, six tech titans from Google, Microsoft, Meta, Tesla, and OpenAI met with lawmakers behind closed doors to discuss the future of artificial intelligence (AI). And although they reached an overwhelming consensus on the need for regulating AI, it appears that Elon Musk still remains one of the few vocal leaders fighting for the preservation of human dignity over profit.
Musk knows better than anyone that we cannot leave the fate of humanity up to AI.
Back in 2015, Musk co-founded OpenAI after getting into a disagreement with Google co-founder Larry Page regarding the importance of AI safety. While Musk argued for built-in safeguards that would prevent AI from gaining too much power, Page disagreed, admitting he views the eventual surpassing of humans’ intelligence and consciousness as simply, “the next step in evolution.” Page mocked Musk by calling him a specist– or someone who is biased toward their own species—but Musk accepted the title with valor, stating, “Well, yes, I am pro-human. I…like humanity, dude.”
In fact, Musk’s OpenAI was created with both transparency and the balance of power in mind. Created as an open-source, non-profit organization, Musk intended others to be able to copy its source code, which would allow them to create independent systems that check and balance one another. However, only a few short years after starting the company, Musk left OpenAI, subsequently slamming it as a “maximum profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft.” In an interview with CNBC, Musk conceded, “It does seem weird that something can be a non-profit, open source and somehow transform itself into a for-profit, closed source.”
Musk has been one of the sole leaders in tech to accurately represent what consumers want: an industry that values human dignity over profit. However, even Musk’s billionaire status and ethical intentions have limitations. What the U.S. needs now is a referee that can build upon Musk’s foundation of ethical development—one capable of balancing responsible, consumer-centric guardrails with innovative might. In other words, what we need is Texas.
This June alone, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 2060, which establishes an Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council sponsored by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione and state Sen. Tan Parker. Both Capriglione and Parker have previously worked to protect human dignity, such as Parker’s legislation against human trafficking, as well as Capriglione’s work on House Bill 4—better known as the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act—which aims to regulate the collection, use, processing, and treatment of consumers’ personal data.
Like the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act, the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council hopes to increase digital transparency for Texans. The Council will also have the power to recommend actions state agencies can take to ensure AI is being developed with the Texans’ best interest in mind. As Gov. Abbott noted, “The Council will help cement Texas’ position as a national leader in innovative technology.”
With Tesla’s recent move to Austin and a surge of AI jobs, Texas is on track to become the new national leader of ethical AI development. Technology must serve humanity, and there’s no better state to ensure that happens than Texas.
With our growing tech industry, proactive, light-touch regulations, and conservative values, Texas could be the referee of Elon Musk’s dreams: prioritizing innovation of technology, citizens’ safety, and most importantly, human dignity over profit.