The Washington AI Network welcomed leaders in tech, business, media, and politics on Thursday evening to its inaugural policy conversation event at The House at 1229 (spotted in POLITICO Playbook).
Hosted by Tammy Haddad and Haddad Media, featured speakers included top AI thought leaders Victoria Espinel, president and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance and a member of the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC), and Kellee Wicker, director of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program.
The recently-launched Washington AI Network is a dynamic bipartisan forum that brings together diverse stakeholders from academia, industry, government, and civil society to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and responsible development and deployment of artificial intelligence technologies.
Victoria Espinel noted that “There are lots of great conversations happening now around the world in the G7 and the OECD between the United States and the European Commission, but having the voice of emerging economies in those conversations, I think is something that the whole [NAIAC] committee thinks is very important.”
When it comes to regulation, Espinel said she feels very strongly that now is the moment for global cooperation. “Regulation is going to happen…I think there is so much policy and there’s so much government interest right now because of technologies like ChatGPT and the impact it’s had, and I think that creates an opportunity that will not last long for governments to come together and cooperate.” She continued, “Based on conversations I’m having with governments around the world, I think there is a real sincere desire for a number of governments to come together on a harmonized approach.”
Kellee Wicker shared that the Wilson Center is thrilled to be a part of a coalition of partners that are putting on the largest and first public generative AI red teaming event, which is critically important to ensuring that AI technology is safe and secure.
On how to get people to trust and be unafraid of AI, Wicker offered, “Transparency is essential for building trust, and building trust is one of the reasons that Americans trust technology far more than what we see in other countries. We tend to believe that someone has thought about this and someone has put a structure in place that can let us trust it…but to a certain degree, I don’t ever want you to fully trust [AI]. I want you to remain skeptical, especially as we start looking at potentially enabling a wave of disinformation. Of course, we’ve always had Photoshop, we could always tamper with photos, but now the skill level required to do so is significantly reduced.”
Wicker continued: “There’s an old poster that’s been up in MIT’s computer science department since the 70s that says ‘a computer should never make a decision.’ And while there are many tiny little decisions that we should and can and are in the process of automating with AI, a decision that has sweeping consequences like pressing the nuclear bomb button or wholesale laying off 20% of your workforce, those are decisions that should never be made by a computer. And so determining when to use AI, we need to think very critically about what we should automate, where AI is actually tuned to do a good job, and where it should be kept out of the loop.”
Guests were invited to join the conversation, including British Embassy DCM James Roscoe, Paul Brennie, Head of the Global Economy Group, EqualAI CEO Miriam Vogel, Flexport president Teresa Carlson, veteran tech exec Karyn Smith and YouTube’s Alexandra Veitch. Other attendees included Senay Bulbul, Political Director of the British Embassy, ServiceNow’s Nichole Francis Reynolds, Amazon Web Services’ Olivia Igbokwe, Microsoft’s Gerry Petrella, Liz Johnson, Senator Romney’s chief, Tim Ryder from Senator Schumer’s office, Congressional Black Caucus executive director Vince Evans, Roshini Kosoglu from the Institute of Human-Centered AI at Stanford University. Mariel Saez, from SKDK, Carol Melton, Adeft Capital, USA Today’s Christine Brennan, Vulcan’s Teki Akuetteh, Tiffany Moore of CTA, Alexis Serfaty from the Eurasia Group, Jeanine Ginivan and Ashley Lerner from GM, Lynda Carter and Kevin Cirilli.