Artificial Intelligence Task Force Wades into Deep Tech Waters

The first meeting of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force met in Frankfort this week with a primer on AI and the potential tools and weapons.

Calling artificial intelligence a “tremendous opportunity” in both the public and private sectors, Rep. Josh Bray, co-chair of the task force, said he is “ready to see what opportunities are there for the state.”

Ryan Harkins and Kristin Emery from Microsoft joined the task force meeting virtually pointing to three areas reshaping the digital world, including the rise of machine learning, the massive processing power of computers, and decreases in costs of data collection and storage.

All of those areas have led to “large language model” programs that have been trained to look for patterns and correlations using math to replicate human speech.

Harkins said artificial intelligence programs are not able to “do things that humans can do,” such as causal explanations and judgements. He said the tools are powerful and can mimic human-like output.

Microsoft is seeking to “augment human capabilities” with AI. OpenAI and Microsoft have formed a partnership to tap large language AI programs, developing programs like “MyCity chatbot” to cut red tape and navigate questions like how to open a restaurant in New York.

There are concerns from Microsoft about the ethics and responsibilities of such powerful programs, including the potential need for new laws to mitigate risks of harm with the technology.

“We need law and regulation to play its appropriate role,” Harkins said to mitigate potential harm from the technology.

Doug Robinson, the Executive Director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), also testified before the task force about what state governments are doing to exploit AI technology.

Robinson said survey data shows many states are still in the “early stages” of implementing AI technology, with around 42% using the basics like automated note-taking on platforms like Zoom.

Many lawmakers on the task force were concerned with political “deep fakes” and what could be done to prevent and track down those who would use the technology to slander.

Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe and Rep. Josh Bray co-chair the task force, which meets on August 13.