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Warner pushes Biden administration to prepare government workforce for AI

Rebecca Barnabi
Artificial intelligence
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The challenges of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence (AI) will require a workforce prepared to handle challenges.

In a letter on September 14, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, who is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to President Joe Biden and encouraged the Administration to boost the federal government’s tech workforce in order to address the challenges. Warner calls on the Administration to build on previous government initiatives to draw in engineers, product managers and other digital policy experts to revamp the government’s approach to technology. Warner stressed the need for a similar arrangement specifically targeting AI.

“It is clear to me that we will not be able to meet the need in this rapidly advancing field without a diverse and representative group of talented minds,” Warner wrote. “These individuals should possess technical knowledge, but also a keen understanding of the social impact of AI.”

Warner’s letter continues to remind the administration of steps taken “to advance the safe deployment of AI technologies. To supplement these efforts, I urge you to use your existing authority to bring the best and brightest minds to the table to help our nation grapple with the wide-ranging impact that AI will have on our society. I look forward to working with you on this endeavor.”

A former tech entrepreneur, Warner has been a leading voice in the Senate calling for increased efforts into appropriately regulating and addressing the threats of AI, while still harnessing its full potential. He engaged directly with AI companies to push for responsible development and deployment. Last month, he sent a series of letters to major AI companies urging them to take additional action to promote safety and prevent malicious misuse of their products. In April, he called on AI CEOs to develop practices that would ensure their products and systems are secure. In July, he pushed on the Biden administration to keep working with AI companies to expand the scope of the voluntary commitments.

Warner wrote to Google last month to raise concerns about their testing of new AI technology in medical settings. He also urged the CEOs of several AI companies to address a concerning report that generative chatbots were producing instructions on how to exacerbate an eating disorder.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.