BusinessThe Future of Tech Is Here. Congress Isn't Ready...

The Future of Tech Is Here. Congress Isn’t Ready for It


“There are still many senators that don’t even use email—if you don’t even use email how are you going to understand some of these other tools? We need folks that are running for office that understand these things.”

That was the call from Will Hurd, former congressperson and author of the upcoming American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done, during WIRED’s virtual CES HQ on Wednesday. Hurd advocated for cybersecurity, privacy, and responsible AI issues during his congressional tenure from 2015 to 2021. And in conversation with WIRED this week, he emphasized the need for the US government and state and local legislatures across the country to sharpen their understanding of the role of technology as misinformation, data abuse, and emerging technologies like AI become increasingly influential in domestic affairs and geopolitics.

One year after the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, Hurd says the US is no more prepared than it was 12 months ago to deal with the ways that misinformation spreads on social media platforms and foments violence.  

“I don’t think we’re better prepared to prevent that kind of insurrection from happening, and we’re not better prepared to deal with one if it does happen,” he informed WIRED. “When it comes to Congress looking at and providing insights on how these tools should be used, we haven’t seen much evolve from there. It’s too much of a partisan fight. … We haven’t been able to have a sober conversation about how these tools are being used to radicalize people.”

Hurd argued that platforms must proceed increasing their group requirements and enforcement insurance policies. He mentioned the significance of growing clear, honest legal responsibility insurance policies, maybe much like requirements for journalists and tv networks. And he emphasised the problem within the US of coping with misinformation and conspiracy theories now that they’ve captured a lot of the general public discourse.

“These messages and this misinformation and disinformation and outright lies are being pushed and magnified by society, and so a handful of elected officials are not going to ultimately solve that broader problem,” he mentioned. “We need to educate the population on how these tools are supposed to be used and to be able to separate fact from fiction.”

The stakes, Hurd says, are excessive each inside the US and on the worldwide stage. He famous that adversaries like China and Russia are adept at weaponizing misinformation in opposition to the US public and have fueled the flames of conspiracy theories. 

“Our adversaries are taking advantage of some of these fissures in order to degrade our standing in the rest of the world,” he says.

Of course, Hurd famous, few if any of the mandatory adjustments are prone to occur except Congress can overcome its ideological polarization to ship lengthy overdue laws. If the US has been this sluggish to behave on social media platforms which have been round for properly over a decade, it appears ill-prepared to get forward of upcoming challenges, from the metaverse to cryptocurrency to the ubiquity of AI.

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