On March 8, 2023, CAIDP Chair Merve Hickok testified before the US Congress on the topic "Advances in AI: Are we ready for the tech revolution." Ms. Hickok told Members of Congress, "No, we do not have the guardrails in place, the laws that we need, the public education, or the expertise in government to manage the consequences of the rapid changes that are now taking place.” She also explained, “Internationally, we are losing AI-policy leadership. Domestically, Americans say they’re more concerned than excited about AI.”
The Members of Congress appeared to share her assessment. In closing remarks, Committee Chair Nancy Mace (R-SC) said, "I don't t think we are ready for what is going to happen in a short period of time." Ranking Members Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said, "Given what we heard from Ms. Hickok and Dr. Madry about the need for some federal intervention, there have to be guidelines and guideposts so we are not facing profound issues later on."
Dr. Aleksander Mądry
MIT Center for Deployable Machine Learning and Cadence Design Systems Professor of Computing
Dr. Eric Schmidt
Special Competitive Studies Project
Dr. Scott Crowder
IBM Quantum, and CTO, IBM Systems, Technical Strategy and Transformation
Merve Hickok (Minority Witness)
Senior Research Director, Center for AI and Digital Policy
ABC NEWS - Artificial Intelligence tools becoming ‘unavoidable’, lawmakers say, March 8, 2023
Merve Hickok, with the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), said it is important for lawmakers to create regulations now.
“We don’t have the guard rails in place,” she said. “The laws that we need the public education or the expertise in the government, to manage the consequences of the rapid technological changes.”
Lawmakers said they agree. With AI evolving at a rapid rate, Congress must act soon.
MeriTalk - Are We Ready for an AI Tech Revolution? Hill Witnesses Say Not so Fast, March 10, 2023
Merve Hickok, the chairwoman and research director at the Center for AI and Digital Policy, reiterated to lawmakers that the U.S. isn’t ready for the imminent “AI Tech Revolution.”
“We do not have the guardrails in place, the laws that we need, the public education, or the expertise in government to manage the consequences of the rapid changes that are now taking place,” she said. “Internationally, we are losing AI-policy leadership. Domestically, Americans say they’re more concerned than excited about AI.”
Hickok explained that if the U.S. wants AI systems to align with national values and serve all, greater accountability and transparency will be needed. Specifically, Hickok explained that AI policymakers around the world have already made clear the need for fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI systems. She said the challenge ahead is with implementation.
“Both governments and private companies know that public trust is a must-have for further innovation, adoption, and expansion,” Hickok said.
NTD - Congress Grapples with AI Revolution, ChatGPT, March 9, 2023
Bias a Concern
Similar concerns were voiced by the Democrats’ witness at the House cybersecurity hearing, University of Michigan intermittent lecturer and AI ethicist Merve Hickok.
Hickok’s prescriptions? Among other things, additional hearings and a possible “Algorithmic Safety Bureau.”
“You need to hear from those who are falsely identified by facial recognition [and those] wrongly denied credit and jobs because of bias built in algorithmic systems,” she said in written testimony.
Courthouse News - AI experts warn against abdicating regulation to Big Tech, March 8, 2023
Merve Hickok, senior research director at the Center for AI and Digital Policy, added that the U.S. does not “have the guardrails in place, the laws that we need, the public education, or the expertise in the government to manage the consequences of these rapid technological changes.”
Hickok recommended that Congress hold more hearings on artificial intelligence to explore the risks and benefits of such technology on the public. She also suggested that the Office of Management and Budget move ahead with proposed rulemaking that would govern the use of AI in the federal government — guidance that the agency was directed to develop the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government Act of 2020.
“We need to establish guidelines for AI development and use, we need to establish a clear legal framework to hold companies accountable for the consequences of their AI systems,” Representative Mace said, via ChatGPT.