Sen. Chuck Schumer spearheaded the start of closed-door meetings between Congress and those in the lead on commercial artificial intelligence development. Gee, the “statesman” of Congress secretly met with paragons of virtue such as Sundar Pichai (Google), Elon Musk (Twitter-X), Sam Altman (OpenAI) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).

The government is pursuing a lawsuit against Google for a monopoly on the internet, and, at the same time, asking its leadership for advice on dealing with the advancement of artificial intelligence. Nothing personal, Chuck, but intelligence — artificial or otherwise — seems to be in short supply.

Apparently, Schumer and his fellow members of Congress thought it a good idea to keep those paying their salaries out of the room. At the same time, the corporate moguls and federal representatives of 340-plus million free people of the United States of America waited demurely on the outside to learn what these fearless leaders would decide.

Sorry, the idea of a handful of humans secretly delegating the future of hundreds of millions of their neighbors doesn’t sit well with me. Nor should it sit well with any American citizen.

The arrogance it takes to conduct closed-door meetings with the same people you are purporting to prosecute for intending to monopolize the internet should be an epic and idiotic affront to anyone who would call themselves American.

And for its part, the press stood by, politely waiting for the secret meeting’s members to be served whatever lines the reps and the moguls decided to give them.

Oh my God, America! Wake up!

The advancement of technology that will potentially affect humanity on a huge scale for generations is being left to conspiring senators, billionaire power players, a watered-down Fourth Estate, and a public that appears to be asleep at the wheel of our democracy.

Gee, what could go wrong? I’ll tell you.

You know how Google can listen in to your conversations in many cases using the platforms you and I use? Much work is being done, and it has been researched for years, on neural decoding and brain-hacking. In November 2014, Scientific American wrote that “the latest computer algorithms can translate neuronal signals into actions that control mechanical devices, including wheelchairs, prostheses and now flight simulators.”

That was nine years ago. Three years later, Scientific American reported that Schumer’s buddy Elon Musk was working to interface the human brain to the internet via the company he owns, Neuralink. On the books, Neuralink just won

FDA approval to begin clinical trials to do brain implants in March.

Call me a skeptic of human virtue, but it makes me wonder what big-tech players and governments have been, and are planning on doing, off the books. Especially when they are brazen enough to have a closed-door meeting right in front of the faces of the American people.

Regarding AI, we must demand transparency, accountability and evidence of intent. Like Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachev: “Trust, but verify.”

Yes, the risk is that high.

If you don’t believe me, believe one much more salient than me.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech,” Benjamin Franklin wrote in the New-England Courant in 1722.

For God’s sake, for your children’s sake, for freedom’s sake — use your voice while you still know it’s yours.

Now, excuse me while I go to buy the tinfoil hat I saw at the store. Can’t be too careful.