Podcast Notes: Federal government's role in AI
In the last month, U.S. Reps Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) released three reports on a national AI strategy, done in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center. The reports cover AI in R&D, national security, and the workforce.
Temin: Tell us the background on these white papers.
Hurd says the U.S. needs to be prepared as it competes with China in a technology arms race. His interest in tech stems from his degrees in computer science, a former CIA undercover officer, an adviser for a cybersecurity company, and chairman of a cybersecurity forum at the Aspen Institute.
When Hurd first came to Congress, he chaired a subcommittee on information technology along with U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Illinois. During hearing on IT procurements and commercial use of drones, they realized more needed to be invested in AI.
Robin and Will held the first congressional hearing on AI and concluded that the U.S., like other countries, needed to pursue a national strategy on AI and incorporate the tech into its operations. They began working with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a D.C.–based think tank that promotes bipartisanship, to bring together parties in the tech and private arenas to make this happen.
In addition to AI in research, national security, and the workforce, they'll be a future white paper about the ethics of AI. The end goal is to develop an AI resolution for Congress to approve, followed by individual pieces of legislation based on the ~50 recommendations made in these reports.
Temin: The first paper, AI in the workforce, is not really about AI replacing jobs, right?
No, Hurd says. But the disruption AI will play is real, and the U.S. needs to be prepared.
One example is driverless cars, which will replace driver jobs. But there's still a need to have workers who care for the vehicles and ensure that people get from point A to point B.
Part of their initiative is making sure the current workforce is prepared for these future 'new collar jobs.' There will need to be a transition, and children today - the future workforce - will need to be prepared.
Every industry is going to be impacted by AI, which some people view as a destination. But Hurd says that's the wrong way to look at it. AI will help people make better decisions more quickly and use better data. It's not necessarily going to replace all jobs, though some positions are going to go away. We have time to prepare for this disruption.
AI will help people make better decisions more quickly and use better data. It's not necessarily going to replace all jobs, though some positions are going to go away. We have time to prepare for this disruption.
Temin: What the federal government’s role in this, if most of the development is happening in the private sector?
While that's correct, the federal government should be a user of AI tools, Hurd says...