The Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus was launched in May 2017 by Congressman John Delaney of Maryland. It is co-chaired by Congressman Pete Olson of Texas. The goal of the caucus is to inform policymakers of the technological, economic and social impacts of advances in AI and to ensure that rapid innovation in AI and related fields benefits Americans as fully as possible. Upon formation the AI Caucus declared an intent to bring together experts from academia, government and the private sector to discuss the latest technologies and the implications and opportunities created by these new changes.
“Artificial Intelligence promises to be one of the paradigm-shifting developments of the next century, with the potential to reshape our economy and daily life just as fully as the internal combustion engine or the semiconductor. As lawmakers, our choice is to either get caught flat-footed or to proactively anticipate how things will change and work on smart policies to make sure that the country benefits as much as possible overall. We have to start becoming future-focused when it comes to policy,” said Congressman Delaney. “In my view, there is tremendous potential for AI to be a positive transformational force, but also understandable concern about the impact that disruption could have on existing jobs. Step one is hearing from those working at the cutting edge, as well as from experts who are modelling the changes to come so that we can start an entirely new discussion. That is what is needed and that’s why this caucus is so important. I look forward to working with Congressman Olson on this important issue and leading a bipartisan and forward-looking discussion.”
“Artificial Intelligence is no longer science fiction. For many, it is part of daily life – from social media feeds to the digital assistant on our phones,” said Congressman Olson. “AI will only continue to grow and policymakers have a responsibility to be forward thinking with respect to the revolutionary applications of it in our society. I agree with Congressman Delaney that it will a positive transformational force. This AI Caucus will give us a platform to engage in smart policies to improve outcomes as this technology continues to be part of our daily lives.”
So, how have they been doing?
All indications are that the caucus is helping inform others in Congress on many of the important issues that need to be addressed here. It is good seeing both Congressman Delaney and Congressman Olson publish well thought out pieces on the topic (see: It’s time for Washington to start working on Artificial Intelligence, and Education Before Regulation, for example).
In December 2017, the Caucus championed a Bill to further understand and promote the development of Artificial Intelligence with the goal of driving economic opportunity. Having read every word of the Bill and understanding its directive to empower the Department of Commerce to further explore AI and to establish a new advisory committee for the government on the topic I most strongly endorse this action and would like to see this Bill become law. More importantly, I would like to see the caucus continue their good work at educating members of Congress and shining a spotlight on government use of AI to keep making progress there.
One of the big benefits of the caucus is to help share information between and among the many other activities in Congress. For example, the activities of the House Oversight and Government Reform IT Subcommittee Chairman Will Hurd in the AI domain. This subcommittee is in the midst of a three part examination of AI as introduced in Congressman Hurd’s video below:
We will continue to track the AI related activities of Congress and report on them in our Weekly Big Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Newsletter and on our Artificial Intelligence site as well.