ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) – The first major global summit on the threat posed by artificial intelligence kicked off in the United Kingdom on Nov. 1., with Vice President Kamala Harris and Elon Musk in attendance.
This international “AI Intelligence Safety Summit” marked the beginning of a serious worldwide effort to consider limitations on what is formerly known as Frontier AI.
It comes on the heels of the first meeting of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence.
At the same time, the Wisconsin Speaker also has a task force on AI.
Chaired by Representative Nate Gustafson, a Republican from Fox Crossing, the Speaker’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence held its latest public hearing at Titletown Tech in Ashwaubenon.
“We’re not looking for an explanation of what AI is at this point. I think we’re more looking for how you’ve implemented it in the industry that you work in or the field that you’re a part of,” said Rep. Gustafson.
The first person to offer testimony to the committee was Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach. “We’re sitting in an incubation of ideas specifically in a digital revolution,” he said.
And with the talent so close to home, Streckenbach spoke in favor of private and public partners working together to create technology for the betterment of things like government services.
Streckenbach told the committee he believes there are countless ways AI can specifically improve the delivery of county services — everything from data collection for Child Protective Services to how snow plows salt the road.
“We always thought, ‘Man, if there was a sensor on the truck that could determine the road temperature, the wetness, forecast the future weather what’s coming — that algorithm could be created that would ultimately determine how much salt should actually be deployed,” said Streckenbach.
Pooja Tolani, a representative from Microsoft, told the committee AI has been around for decades and it’s Microsoft’s belief that the technology is meant to augment humans areas, not just replace them.
And with proper planning and oversight, she said the technology can be a benefit and not something to be fearful of.
According to Tolani, “We should be thinking about both the positives and the potential risks. I don’t think that should stop us from continuing to innovate, but it should just put an emphasis as we’re developing it. This technology should be developed with human oversight and additionally with responsible, safe and ethical manners.”
What that looks like and how it’s implemented will continue to be the topic of conversation as the AI discussion and state legislation moves forward.
Rep. Gustafson added, “The first thought when people think of AI is Skynet, Terminator — they think this could be the end of the world. I see it as a positive. I see it as the steam engine of our generation. How are we really going to produce the next level of productivity, with obviously the challenges we have with the workforce. So, I think there’s a huge benefit to embracing AI, but also being cautious and understanding the downfalls of it.”
The task force will hold two more hearings on the issue, one on Nov. 15 at UW-Stout and then another in Madison at a date and time to be determined.