State Senate Kicks Off Deep Dive into Artificial Intelligence

Dave Williams

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

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Artificial intelligence can prove more beneficial to society than harmful but only with proper regulation, industry experts told Georgia lawmakers Wednesday.

“I’m an optimist,” Peter Stockburger, a San Diego-based partner in the global law firm Dentons who specializes in AI, told members of two state Senate committees. “It’s going to be used primarily for good as long as controls are in place.”

Stockburger testified before the Senate Public Safety and Science and Technology committees at their first hearing to examine how rapidly evolving AI technology is likely to affect public policy.

“We do not want to stifle innovation here,” said Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, chairman of the Public Safety Committee. “But we want to establish guardrails to protect Georgians.”

Fred Diodati, director of consulting services in the Montreal office of CGI, said establishing guidelines that ensure humans are involved in AI systems is critical.

“Humans must be aware of what’s happening and be able to trace the decision-making process,” he said.

Stockburger said governments at the federal, state or local level that adopt “responsibility frameworks” requiring AI systems to be safe, secure, transparent, and fair likely will work in the short run.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order Tuesday establishing new federal standards for AI aimed at ensuring safety and security, protecting Americans’ privacy, and promoting innovation and competition.

But Stockburger said such approaches will not be effective in the future, once AI becomes smarter than humans. He said responsible AI practices in the future must be “machine readable,” encoded directly into AI systems to be effective.

“Governments are going to control the keys to the network and will allow AI on that network based on standards,” he said.

Albers said his goal is for Georgia to establish a governance framework addressing AI in the next six months.

“We’re the No.-1 state to do business,” he said. “We have to be number one in AI as well.”

About Dave Williams

Dave Williams has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1999 and for several years before that, covered Georgia’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. He began his career in radio news in Florida and Upstate New York.