Policymakers say they need to be smarter about AI

Cantwell and Young
Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Todd Young, R-Ind., discuss the policy implications of artificial intelligence. (Washington Post via Twitter)

It’s high time for government officials to get up to speed on the promise and potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence, two U.S. senators leading the charge said today.

“I think we’re entering an age where artificial intelligence is going to provide great benefits,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said during an AI conference presented in Washington, D.C., as part of The Washington Post’s Transformers program.

Cantwell compared the state of the AI field to the state of the internet or the drone industry during the early days, when policymakers weren’t completely sure how those technologies were going to be used.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., acknowledged that members of Congress aren’t sufficiently equipped to deal with all of the issues raised by AI. “I like a measure of humility from our legislators,” he said.

To remedy that gap, Cantwell and Young are among the sponsors of a bill known as the FUTURE of AI Act. (The title is an acronym standing for “Fundamentally Understanding The Usability and Realistic Evolution of Artificial Intelligence.”)

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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