IBM Watson SVP to Congress: AI dialogue should focus on positive impact, not 'fear tactics'

Government officials must enact policies to prepare the country for innovative artificial intelligence solutions, rather than policies that stifle technological advancement, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform Senior Vice President David Kenny wrote in a June 27 letter to Congress.

Mr. Kenny noted a significant amount of conversation surrounding AI emphasizes "massive job loss, or even an eventual AI 'overlord' that controls humanity." However, he claimed AI is meant to augment human decision-making — not to replace human workers.

"I must disagree with these dystopian views," Mr. Kenny wrote. "When you actually do the science of machine intelligence, and when you actually apply it in the real world of business and society … you understand that this technology does not support the fear-mongering commonly associated with the AI debate today."

Instead, Mr. Kenny claimed AI will create different types of jobs. He suggested government officials realign the country's education system to emphasize technical skills that will support job-seekers in this changing employment landscape. "It's time to move beyond fear tactics and refocus the AI dialogue," he wrote.

"We should abandon any notion of taxing automation. Penalizing technological progress would stifle innovation and threaten America's competitive advantage," he wrote. "We pay a significant price every day for not knowing what can be known: not knowing what's wrong with a patient; not knowing where to find critical natural resources; or not knowing where the risks lie in our global economy."

Click here to view the full letter.

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