CMU Experts Lent Expertise to New U.S. Artificial Intelligence ’Roadmap’

The Bipartisan Senate AI Working group, led by Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and Sens. Mike Rounds, Martin Heinrich and Todd Young,  announced a new legislative plan for artificial intelligence on Wednesday, May 15. Carnegie Mellon University experts contributed knowledge and expertise to the group as the plan was developed over many months. 

The roadmap, " Driving U.S. Innovation in Artificial Intelligence ," directs Congress to infuse billions of dollars into research and development, provides direction to Senate committees crafting legislation on the technology, and takes a step forward in regulating AI. 

"The bipartisan roadmap put forth today by Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Sens. Rounds, Young and Heinrich, which was forged through unprecedented dialogue with innovators, researchers, and public and private stakeholders, offers a bold strategy for advancing U.S. economic competitiveness and ensuring all’Americans can benefit from advances in trustworthy AI and robotics," Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian said in the announcement.  

How did CMU Advise on the AI Roadmap’

The plan is a product of months of AI Insight Forums among lawmakers, top tech executives, civil rights and labor leaders, consumer protection advocates and researchers. As a talent hub for artificial intelligence and robotics, CMU offered unique expertise to ensure the U.S. can realize the transformative potential of AI while ensuring its safe and responsible use. 

Jodi Forlizzi , the Herbert A. Simon Professor in the  Human-Computer Interaction Institute  and faculty lead for the  Responsible AI Initiative through the university’s  Block Center for Technology and Society , testified at The AI Insight Forum on AI Innovation on Oct. 24, 2023. 

Her statement, which is  included in the report released this week,  made recommendations to the senators to ensure that innovations in AI are sustainable, responsible and work for workers. 

Forlizzi’s testimony capped  a season of CMU experts on Capitol Hill , including: 

    School of Computer Engineering Dean Martial Hebert and  Tom Mitchell , Founders University Professor in the Machine Learning Department, who briefed approximately 100 Senate staff on AI over multiple occasions. 

    Ramayya Krishnan , dean of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy , faculty director of the  Block Center , and a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s  National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee , who  testified on the need for transparency in AI to a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety and data security on Sept. 12, 2023. 

    Rayid Ghani , Distinguished Career Professor in CMU’s Machine Learning Department and the Heinz College, and chief scientist for the Obama for America 2012 election campaign, who testified as a witness during the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on "Governing AI Through Acquisition and Procurement," on Sept. 14, 2023. 

    College of Engineering Dean  Bill Sanders , who  presented during "Artificial Intelligence for Accelerating Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: Addressing Society’s Greatest Challenges" as part of the 78th U.N. General Assembly, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 18, 2023. 

    Block Center faculty  Hoda Heidari , K&L Gates Career Development Assistant Professor in Ethics and Computational Technologies, along with Mitchell, Ghani and Krishnan, who  briefed coalitions and caucuses from both sides of the aisle on AI governance and accountability on Sept. 27, 2023. 

    Aarti Singh , a professor in the Machine Learning Department of the School of Computer Science and director of the AI Institute for Social Decision Making , who met with members of Congress and their staffs as part of the  National AI Research Institutes Congressional Showcase on Sept. 29, 2023. 

    William Scherlis , professor of computer science and director of CMU’s Institute for Software Research, who testified in a January House Oversight subcommittee hearing, " Toward an AI-Ready Workforce. " 

Recognizing the role of robotics

Among its recommendations, the plan calls for funding for research and development at the intersection of AI and robotics to advance national security, workplace safety, industrial efficiency, economic productivity and competitiveness. 

In April, CMU  co-hosted members of Congress at the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus’ robotics showcase "Robotics for a Better Tomorrow"  to advise national decision-makers on the role of robotics in enhancing U.S. productivity and economic development. Members of Congress and their staff engaged with robotics researchers, developers and students to better understand how the technology is evolving with AI, contributing to regional economic development and transforming the U.S. workforce.

"This bipartisan roadmap recognizes that innovation in robotics is vital to realize AI’s ability to enhance the future of our economy and improve the quality of life in America," said Theresa Mayer , CMU’s vice president for research. "Majority Leader Schumer, along with Sens. Round, Young and Heinrich, solicited input from a wide variety of experts and stakeholders and we are so appreciative to see our faculty’s expertise reflected in these recommendations." 

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