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Ranking Member Johnson’s Opening Statement for Artificial Intelligence Hearing

Jun 26, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Energy are holding a joint Subcommittee hearing titled, “Artificial Intelligence – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you Chairwoman Comstock, Ranking Member Lipinski, Chairman Weber, and Ranking Member Veasey for holding this important hearing, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is already affecting the way we make decisions and interact in our world. When fully developed, AI will likely have a large impact across all sectors, industries, and demographics. This committee should support policies that ensure safe, responsible development of AI that will benefit society and make the world a better place. The Science committee should also be stewards for bridging the digital divide and supporting efforts to include broad participation in AI and to prevent algorithmic bias. AI’s current and potential applications are numerous, including virtual personal assistants and predictive technologies that enhance customer interactions.

From healthcare to national security and everything in-between, advancement of AI depends on building foundational knowledge in the many fields that contribute to AI, including the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Federal investment in basic research for AI is critical. The top spot for world leadership is open for the taking. Our counterparts across the globe have already staked their claim and are investing heavily in R&D and in producing a well-qualified talent pool. 

Strategic, robust federal investments in AI R&D and in educating and training our future AI workforce will be critical if we are to remain a leader in AI. These efforts should be directed toward attracting students to the STEM fields and to ensuring our seasoned workforce gains the skills necessary to thrive in an AI-driven economy.

This committee has been at the forefront of supporting game-changing research that advances the boundaries of science and creates completely new industries that could not have been imagined by earlier generations. We have the opportunity to do that with AI if we commit to sustainable funding of research, education, and coordination activities.

I look forward to hearing more about what the future holds for this exciting technology.

Thank you and I yield back.

115th Congress