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Rep. John Delaney in conversation with Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Thursday morning, Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart hosted a conversation with some of the Hill's leading voices on AI, digging into how this new technology is poised to change our jobs, economy, and lives.

Why it matters: Kim heard how these leaders are thinking about and approaching AI from a policy perspective, with all of them advocating for the American people to embrace, rather than fear, this rapidly advancing technology.

Watch the livestream.

Rep. Pete Olson
Rep. Pete Olson says that fear is the biggest roadblock to AI. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Rep. Olson, who is the co-chair of the House's AI Caucus, told Kim about his caucus, why he is passionate about AI, and how and why America as a country should embrace it.

  • What inspired the A.I. Caucus: “AI is the future of not just America, but the entire world.”
  • The caucus' motto: "Educate before we legislate."
  • Cancer, cyber-attacks, and drunk driving, were all mentioned by Rep. Olson as problems that AI has the potential to solve.
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney (D- Calif.) will be Rep. Olson's next AI Caucus co-chair, replacing Rep. John Delaney as he gears up for his presidential run.
Rep. Debbie Dingell
Rep. Debbie Dingell discusses how AI will impact the auto-industry. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Rep. Dingell of Michigan, spoke about how she is embracing AI despite warnings that this technology could displace jobs in manufacturing states like her own.

  • How AI, which will be an essential part of Autonomous Vehicles, will change Michigan: "Detroit was the birth place of the automobile and ... we are going to be the leaders in autonomous vehicles."
  • Policy's role in AI: “One of the challenges, as we’re talking about AI, is how you create a regulatory environment for technology that is so rapidly changing ... at all times we have to make sure that the consumer is safe.”
  • "AI is exciting. It's the future. We shouldn't be afraid of it. It's going to create jobs ... but there are a lot of issues we need to talk about."
Rep. John Delaney
Rep. John Delaney discusses the importance of preparing for AI. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Rep. Delaney, who is stepping down as co-chair of the House's AI Caucus as he begins his run for president, discussed the importance of innovating, while protecting consumers and also spreading the wealth.

  • AI is a critical issue. "There are three or four issues that will be incredibly important to the 2020 election and [AI] is one of them."
  • Learning from the past to prepare for AI: "If you don't prepare your country for change it acts like a great sorting machine of winners and people who get left behind ... In the last couple decades we had great innovation, but we didn't do the right things in policy to spread them out."
  • Balancing innovation and regulation: “I think we can have extraordinary innovation and put consumer safeguards in place at the same time … it starts with giving individuals some control over their data, so they have a sense for what it’s being used for.”
Why it Matters with Steve LeVine
Axios Future Editor Steve LeVine explains why this topic matters. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Kim closed out the event with Axios Future Editor and AI expert Steve LeVine, analyzing why this conversation mattered and what he sees as the future of AI.

  • How the AI narrative evolved: “First we had this narrative 'apocalypse soon'. Then, for the past year we’ve been inundated with the narrative 'calm down, everything’s going to be fine — not only will we not lose our jobs, we’re going to have better jobs,' and that’s not true.”
  • Where we go from here. "The way tech always happens, it goes slow and then really fast. We're in the slow period. We're seeing the impact on flat wages. No one disputes that over the next decade we're going to see a tornado rip through the workplace."
  • "The optimistic take is that if we are super vigilant we can figure out how to re-skill these workers and new workers into other kinds of jobs."
  • Eventually, AI will be commonplace. "[AI] is a technology that over the coming decades is going to be infused in all businesses — a general purpose application like electricity.

Thank you Intel for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.