Lawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive

Lawmakers on Wednesday called for expanding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help small businesses and the education system remain competitive in the global economy.

“The future of our competitiveness, on a global level, is dependent upon us embracing this technology,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) at The Hill’s “Powering America’s Economy with AI” event.

Lawrence, a member of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, told The Hill’s Steve Clemons that while AI should be promoted in schools to help build a competitive workforce, there are built-in biases in algorithms that must be addressed and removed.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), co-chair of the AI Caucus, added that there must be transparency regarding data in order to prevent bias from impacting negatively any one group over another.

“It is up to [the government] to make sure that this opportunity is shared equally and grows the economy in a fair way,” he added.

In a voice vote Monday, the House passed the AI in Government Act of 2019, which would establish an AI Center of Excellence with the General Services Administration in order to promote the efforts of the federal government in developing innovative uses of AI. The center would also increase the awareness of the meaning of AI to Congress.

“We want to make sure that members of Congress and their staff are educated about what AI can do,” he said at the event sponsored by Intuit, adding that the legislation would “not only create the ability of the federal government to use AI in a responsible way, but it will also empower small businesses.”

AI has become more commonplace in certain parts of the economy, posing both opportunities and challenges for small businesses.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), who also spoke at the event, said technology is playing a major role in how small firms are able to adapt during the pandemic.

“We need to make sure that they’re successful to get this economy moving in the right direction,” he said.

Tags AI Artificial intelligence Brenda Lawrence Education Intuit Jerry McNerney small businesses Steve Chabot Technology

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