Bill Maher: AI Poses Greater Threat Than TikTok

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill aiming to ban the popular social media app TikTok. Host of HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher, didn’t hesitate to comment on the issue during the show’s latest episode. Amid laughter, he ironically noted that while China may manufacture most of the products we use, keeping the American youth ‘unintelligent’ is not a responsibility it should assume.

The bill, which garnered 352 ‘yes’ votes against 65 ‘no’ votes, might result in a nationwide ban of this popular short video app, if ByteDance, the China-based company behind the platform, remains its owner. Legislators continue to express concerns about ByteDance’s ownership structure, viewing it as a potential national security threat. Despite this, President Joe Biden assured that he will sign the bill only if Congress passes it – the Senate still needs to give its verdict.

Discussion on Real Time

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As the episode proceeded, Maher revisited the topic during his conversation with Republican Rep. Nancy Mace and Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna. He expressed concerns that there might be more pressing matters to attend to at present than TikTok.

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The host observed how a majority of the Congress, including significant figures like Donald Trump, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, supported the bill, despite opposition from some politicians. When Maher asked for clarity on why these parties opposed the bill, Khanna promptly replied that it infringed on the First Amendment right to free speech.

According to Khanna, instead of banning TikTok, Congress should be focusing on passing a “data privacy law”. Mace echoed this sentiment, arguing that it’s not within the government’s purview to ban apps or websites, given the First Amendment and possibly even Fifth Amendment implications.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence

Maher also shared his views on a larger issue than the TikTok ban- the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He expressed concern over the unchecked development of AI technology, which could soon produce the first trillionaire. Drawing reference to a recent U.S. State Department report that outlined the severe threat AI may pose to humanity, Maher questioned the wisdom of fast-tracking AI development without sufficiently considering its potential pitfalls.

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The use of AI has stirred considerable debate across various sectors, including Hollywood, where concerns about it replacing jobs continue to grow. The matter also was a significant point of contention during the writers and actors strikes last year.

Guest Appearance

Moreover, this episode of Real Time also witnessed the presence of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who took part in a one-on-one interview.

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Wrapping Up

As the debate on technology’s unchecked evolution continues to rage, platforms like ‘Real Time’ offer a stage for open discussions. These conversations will be pivotal in mapping the path of innovation, ensuring that technological growth does not compromise security, ethics, or basic human rights. For more compelling discussions on critical subjects of our time, don’t hesitate to visit HitPlay.