Home » Public Policy: The Explosion of Artificial Intelligence

Public Policy: The Explosion of Artificial Intelligence

AI added to the Frankfort agenda

By Bob Babbage and Rebecca Hartsough 

In the crush of everyday events, we may not notice a world-changing technology force as it’s unfolding, but the wave of artificial intelligence is exploding.

For Kentucky legislators and tech leaders, AI has become a permanent subject. Most any “top stories of the week” news summary today includes an AI angle, ranging from inspiring to worrisome.

Predictions include AI making major medical breakthroughs, extending life or resulting in massive jobs losses for workers as AI redefines the work world.

For those who are investors, creators or elected leaders, the outlook carries concern for false political messaging overwhelming the internet or the theft of original expressions. This is just a start.

Even the September auto workers strike included AI as the manufacturing workforce fears jobs lost by an AI takeover. Union leaders want protections.

In short, artificial intelligence is defined as the science of teaching machines to learn humanlike capabilities, according to “The Coming Wave,” a bestseller by Mustafa Suleyman. The author has made a mark as well as a fortune from creating highly successful AI companies.

Here’s what we already know, but Suleyman underlines. “Technology’s unavoidable challenge is that its makers quickly lose control over the path their inventions take once introduced to the world. Inventions cannot be uninvented or blocked indefinitely, knowledge unlearned or stopped from spreading.”

Suleyman is valuable reading for all leaders. He instructs business on how to get ready. Note that major tech companies are throwing down enormous investments in AI. The U.S. and China are battling to invent this future with huge consequences for profits and prophetic results.

Suleyman says that a single AI program can write as much text as all of humanity.

Those of us in the column-writing category might well be expendable.

It is well worth noting that Lexington is home to two highly significant national organizations that provide prestigious forums and crucial counsel to government technology leaders. Both are in overdrive to give guidance on AI.

NASCIO, the National Association of State Chief Informational Officials, puts top public leaders with an army of corporate experts plus other advisors onto emerging issues and trends.

NASTD, the National Association of State Technology Directors, keeps chief state leaders in sync with the makers of upcoming advancements in technology, a growing major investment for statehouse decision-makers.

The demand for direction, solutions and resource allocation has never been greater, as both groups double down on harnessing AI assets to make governments work better.

Kentucky uses the legislative “off-season” to its advantage, examining a range of problems, successes and directions for formal decisions that must be made each new year. House and Senate members meet together, receiving a plethora of information, numbers and ideas. No votes are taken since they are not in session.

Rep. Phillip R. Pratt (R-Georgetown), who co-chairs the Small Business and Information Technology Committee, put the recent focus on AI. Throughout this year, dozens of proposed laws emerged nationwide, all intending to keep up with AI.

Questions and observations came from Sen. Shelley Funke Frommeyer (R-Alexandria), Rep. Ryan Dotson (R-Winchester) and Rep Daniel Grossberg (D-Louisville), among other lawmakers.

The White House created an “AI Bill of Rights” in 2022. Just last month congressional leaders had a closed meeting with leading technology CEOs. From his global perch, Suleyman says AI will require much government engagement, including world-scale treaties.

Artificial as AI intelligence may be, much like the internet itself, it demands human engagement and has created a whole new world of potential for astonishing progress with imposing problems. Government will be called on to deal with AI from now on.