U.S. Senators To Be Briefed On AI In Emergency Meeting

Every U.S. senator has been invited to sit in for a classified briefing about the effects that artificial intelligence can have on security at the national and global level.

The meeting, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, will be the first of its kind. He said it’s important that all members of the Senate be invited to the briefing, since the emerging technology is advancing at a rapid pace. 

As he wrote in a letter to all senators over the weekend:

“This Tuesday we will have a classified all-senators briefing with the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community to learn how we’re using and investing in AI to protect our national security and learn what our adversaries are doing in AI.

“This will be the first-ever classified all-senators briefing on national security and AI.”

Those who were scheduled to present information at the briefing include Craig Martel, the chief digital and AI officer at the Pentagon; Trey Whitworth, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s director; Arati Prabhakar, the policy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology; Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence; and Kathleen Hicks, the deputy defense secretary.

Almost as fast as AI is advancing as a technology, it’s advancing as a hot topic around the world. Legislators have started to become concerned about it, too, on a number of different levels.

First, there’s concerns related to the actual security and safety of AI technology. Then, there are concerns about whether the technology needs to be regulated from the federal government’s standpoint. And third, there’s also concern about whether the U.S. would fall behind other countries in their development of AI capabilities and understanding. 

A few months back, Schumer said that he would be working to create a regulatory framework in regard to AI that would aim to protect user privacy online while at the same time not doing anything to stifle innovation in the field.

At the same time, he convened four senators that including himself as well as New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich, Indiana’s Todd Young and South Dakota’s Mike Rounds to create a comprehensive plan about how the federal government should handle AI.

That group of senators from both sides of the political aisle is what led to the classified briefing for this week. Schumer also said that more of these types of events would be held in the future.

As he wrote in the letter to all senators:

“Our job as legislators is to listen to the experts and learn as much as we can so we can translate these ideas into legislative action, with our committees continuing to serve as the key drivers. I look forward to hearing from these experts, and I encourage you to attend.”

There are other efforts taking place in Congress right now, including a proposals that would establish panels that would be focused on advising about potential regulations over the technology.