Today, we will explore the various applications and societal implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a complex field of study where researchers train computers to learn directly from information without being explicitly programmed – like humans do.

Last Congress, this Committee held two hearings on this topic – examining the concept of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and discussing potential applications for AI development through scientific machine learning, as well as the cutting-edge basic research it can enable.

This morning we will review the types of AI technologies being implemented all across the country and consider the most appropriate way to develop fair and responsible guidelines for their use.

From filtering your inbox for spam to protecting your credit card from fraudulent activity, AI technologies are already a part of our everyday lives.  AI is integrated into every major U.S. economic sector, including transportation, health care, agriculture, finance, national defense, and space exploration.

This influence will only expand.  In 2016, the global AI market was valued at over $4 billion and is expected to grow to $169 billion by 2025. Additionally, there are estimates that AI could add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration announced a plan for “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.”

Last week, the Administration’s Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence released a report that identifies its priorities for federally funded AI research.  These include developing effective methods for human-AI collaboration, understanding and addressing the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI, ensuring the safety and security of AI systems, and evaluating AI technologies through standards and benchmarks.

Incorporating these priorities while driving innovation in AI will require cooperation between industry, academia, and the Federal government. These efforts will be led by agencies under the jurisdiction of this Committee: the National Institute on Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

The = AI Initiative specifically directs NIST to develop a federal plan for the development of technical standards in support of reliable, robust, and trustworthy AI technologies. NIST plans to support the development of these standards by building research infrastructure for AI data and standards development and expanding ongoing research and measurement science efforts to promote adoption of AI in the marketplace.

At the NSF, federal investments in AI span fundamental research in machine learning, along with the security, robustness, and explainability of AI systems. NSF also plays an essential role in supporting diverse STEM education, which will provide a foundation for the next generation AI workforce. NSF also partners with U.S. industry coalitions to emphasize fairness in AI, including a program on AI and Society which is jointly supported by the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (PAI).

Finally, with its world-leading user facilities and expertise in big data science, advanced algorithms, and high-performance computing, DOE is uniquely equipped to fund robust fundamental research in AI.

Dr. Georgia Tourassi, the founding Director of the Health Data Sciences Institute (HDSI), joins us today from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) – a DOE Office of Science Laboratory.  Dr. Tourassi’s research focuses on deploying AI to provide diagnoses and treatment for cancer.

The future of scientific discovery includes the incorporation of advanced data analysis techniques like AI.  With the next generation of supercomputers, including the exascale computing systems that DOE is expected to field by 2021, American researchers will be able to explore even bigger challenges using AI. They will have greater power, and even more responsibility.

Technology experts and policymakers alike have argued that without a broad national strategy for advancing AI, the U.S. will lose its narrow global advantage. With increasing international competition in AI and the immense potential for these technologies to drive future technological development, it’s clear the time is right for the federal government to lead these conversations about AI standards and guidelines.

I look forward to working with Chairwoman Johnson and the members of the Committee over the next few months to develop legislation that supports this national effort. 

I want to thank our accomplished panel of witnesses for their testimony today and I look forward to receiving their input.