WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing to assess the potential risks and opportunities related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The hearing examined how artificial intelligence affects our nation’s economic competitiveness on a global stage, while ensuring that these technologies are used responsibly and in a way that respects civil rights and civil liberties. Peters also highlighted that the lack of transparency surrounding how these technologies function often undermines public trust in their use. The witnesses discussed how lawmakers can work to support the development of AI to ensure it benefits society and helps industry and government become more effective, while limiting potential harms.
“From the development of lifesaving drugs and advanced manufacturing, to helping businesses and governments better serve the public, to self-driving vehicles that will improve mobility and make our roads safer, artificial intelligence holds great promise. But this rapidly-evolving technology also presents potential risks that could impact our safety, privacy, and our economic and national security. We must ensure that, as use of this technology becomes more widespread, we have the right safeguards in place to ensure it is being used appropriately,” said Senator Peters during his opening statement.
Peters continued: “Adversaries like the Chinese government are racing to be the world leaders in these technologies, and to harness the economic advantages that dominance in artificial intelligence will create. The United States must be at the forefront of developing our own AI systems, and training people how to use them appropriately, to protect our global economic competitiveness.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
Peters and the witnesses discussed how, in some cases, developers of these technologies do not understand how AI algorithms make decisions and the hearing examined the risks posed by this lack of transparency. Lawmakers also heard how algorithmic bias can get into AI systems, and how our nation can ensure we are utilizing fair AI systems. The witnesses also discussed the need to ensure that these technologies are benefitting and not disrupting Americans’ workplaces. The witnesses discussed existing laws and regulatory authorities, as well as needed reforms, that will help ensure that the United States is developing and using responsible AI systems. Finally, with foreign adversaries like the Chinese government prioritizing investments in these technologies, Peters raised the need for Congress to ensure the federal government has the talent, training, and technology needed to maintain the United States’ global leadership on AI.
The hearing builds on Peters’ previous efforts to ensure our nation can use AI effectively and responsibly. His bipartisan bill to create a training program to help federal employees responsible for purchasing and managing AI technologies better understand the capabilities and risks they pose to the American people was signed into law. Peters’ provision to ensure that the use of AI across the federal government is effective, responsible, and accountable by providing resources and guidance to federal agencies was signed into law in 2021. During today’s hearing, the witnesses affirmed the need to quickly implement these laws.