VIDEO: Peters Convenes Hearing to Examine the Philosophy of AI and What It Means for Humanity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing to examine how the transformative potential of artificial intelligence will impact our society with expert witnesses who study the intersection of AI and economics, philosophy, history, and constitutional law. The hearing highlighted the lessons learned from past periods of great technological change, like the Industrial Revolution, to know how we can use AI in a way that builds a better future for humanity. The witnesses discussed the importance of having a framework in place to ensure this technological innovation will transform our world for the better while anticipating and addressing the potential harms that could occur. 

“Artificial intelligence has already begun to reshape the fabric of our society. Our response cannot come through piecemeal policy alone, or isolated technological ‘fixes.’ It must include a deeper examination of our history, our democracy, and our values, and how we want this technology to shape our future,” said Peters during his opening remarks. “We must look to the past and learn the lessons of previous technological revolutions. We must answer the ethical questions that A.I. poses and use these new technologies to build a world where humans can thrive. And we must protect our civil liberties and democratic institutions against the risks that these tools can pose.” 

To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks as prepared, click here.

To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.

During the hearing, Peters and the witnesses discussed the need to create incentives for the private sector to ensure AI is being developed in a way that prioritizes responsibility and protects our democratic institutions against the risks that these tools can pose. Dr. Vallor discussed the need to use human values to guide the development of AI to ensure biases are not reflected in this technology. Dr. Acemoglu and Professor Hu went on to describe the importance of staying ahead of the curve in AI development by ensuring there are guardrails and laws in place to safeguard Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties. The witnesses further emphasized the importance of approaching this technology with the anticipation that it can have great benefits to society, but cautioned against expecting technology to solve societal problems without the guidance of human wisdom and responsibility. Peters and witnesses agreed that an inter-disciplinary approach to AI is critical to ensure AI benefits all Americans.