How Sam Altman Stormed Washington to Set the A.I. Agenda

Weeks after OpenAI released its ChatGPT chatbot last year, Sam Altman, the chief executive of the artificial intelligence start-up, launched a lobbying blitz in Washington.

He demonstrated ChatGPT at a breakfast with more than 20 lawmakers in the Capitol. He called for A.I. to be regulated in private meetings with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders. In all, Mr. Altman has discussed the rapidly evolving technology with at least 100 members of Congress, as well as with Vice President Kamala Harris and cabinet members at the White House, according to lawmakers and the Biden administration.

“It’s so refreshing,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and the chair of a panel that held an A.I. hearing last month featuring Mr. Altman. “He was willing, able and eager.”

Technology chief executives have typically avoided the spotlight of government regulators and lawmakers. It took threats of subpoenas and public humiliation to persuade Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sundar Pichai of Google to testify before Congress in recent years.

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