Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate’s upcoming AI Insight Forum. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Next week the Senate will host one of the most important conversations of the year when the top minds in artificial intelligence convene for our first AI Insight Forum.
It will be a meeting unlike any other that we have seen in the Senate in a very long time, perhaps ever: a coming together of top voices in business, civil rights, defense, research, labor, the arts, all together, in one room, having a much-needed conversation about how Congress can tackle AI.
Both parties recognize that AI is something we can’t ignore, but we need a lot of help understanding the best way forward. Different countries are taking different approaches to AI, and some are more successful than others.
We have to learn from their mistakes and learn from this panel, illustrious as it is. We need to find an approach that balances both innovation and safety. That means both creative innovation – to develop new applications, new technologies, new breakthroughs – so we can advance in science and in medicine and in education and in health, and so many other areas, communications. But we also need innovation on guardrails so we can find creative and new ways to protect our kids, our privacy, prevent racial bias, prevent doomsday scenarios. Innovation must apply to both sides of the equation, innovating so we can move the advantages of AI forward, but innovating so we can deal with the problems that AI might create and lessen them as much as we can.
It will not be easy, not easy at all. In fact it will be one of the hardest things we undertake in Congress, hardest things probably we’ve ever undertaken. That’s why next week’s conversation will be so important, because it will be the first of a series of forums that will give our committees the knowledge base and thought insights to draft the right kind of policies.
And already, our committees have done some outstanding work on this topic, holding no less than eight hearings on AI, on matters relating to national security, intellectual property, human rights, and more. In fact, as we speak the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing on AI and the Department of Energy’s role in preserving competition and new technologies. And one thing I want to underscore before I finish my speech here on my little talk on AI: we are doing this in a bipartisan way. Senator Rounds, Senator Young, Senator Heinrich, and myself are sort of steering this effort. We are having this be done in a bipartisan way, and we expect the committees to work bipartisan, because if this becomes a partisan issue nothing will happen and that could create real problems in our society.
So the Senate is ready and engaging on this most important issue. I want to thank my colleagues for their work. I want to thank Senators Rounds, Young, and Heinrich for helping organizing these Forums, and I look forward to our conversation, our very important conversation, next week. We hope Senators and their staff will come, listen, learn, and then act.