PHOENIXVILLE, November 16, 2023 – State Senator Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks), chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee, today joined Senator Jimmy Dillon (D-Philadelphia) and Senator John Kane (D-Chester/Delaware) to co-host a public hearing to explore the potential impacts of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Commonwealth.
“The potential of AI is exciting: there are opportunities for public progress and improving efficiency in so many fields– but the introduction of AI also presents new layers of uncertainty and risk,” Muth said. “Today’s hearing was a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about how AI can impact our government, our workforce, and the future of healthcare. The testifiers all highlighted the urgent need to enact protective regulations and policies to ensure that generative AI is used in ways to benefit and help people and not harm them.”
The hearing, held at the Upper Providence Township Building, featured three panels of testimony that provided several different perspectives on the development and growth of Generative AI and its impacts on government, workforce, and healthcare.
“The landscape of artificial intelligence is evolving every day. Like most of you, I’m still learning about all its capabilities. There is a lot of potential for positive change, but we’ve got to be cautious,” Senator Dillon said. “We want to ensure a future where AI enhances the lives of Pennsylvanians while safeguarding against potential disruptions in our workforce, healthcare systems, and government operations.”
Generative AI is a technology that can create content, including text, images, audio, or video, when prompted by a user. Generative AI systems create responses using algorithms that are trained often on open-source information, such as text and images from the internet.
“I took today’s hearing on Artificial Intelligence as an opportunity to learn more about this new technology that’s reshaping our economy,” Senator Kane said. “I may be more accustomed to wrenches than algorithms, but I firmly believe that Artificial Intelligence is a major issue facing our future workforce and we should work to address those for Pennsylvanians. Conversations like these will be the ones that guide Pennsylvania’s future in AI development.”
Senator Dillon and Senator Kane recently circulated cosponsor memos in the Senate and plan to introduce three bills regarding responsible AI Use. Their bills would outline policies and guidelines for use of AI by Commonwealth agencies and also address the unauthorized dissemination of AI-generated impersonations of individuals.
“This groundbreaking technology has tremendous potential, but caution is key. Establishing effective rules to safeguard both privacy and intellectual property becomes imperative, ensuring that as we embrace the potential of AI, we also prioritize the well-being and rights of the people,” Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) added. “Striking this balance will make way for a responsible integration of AI in Pennsylvania’s future.”
In September, Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order to establish responsible standards and a governance framework for generative AI use by Commonwealth agencies. The Executive Order also established a Generative AI Governing Board to guide Commonwealth policy, use, and deployment.
“As Artificial Intelligence continues to thrive it is critical leaders work now, not later, to make sure its impact is a net positive for the communities we serve,” Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) said. “This means ensuring we protect workers from displacement, protecting Intellectual Property and ensuring AI does not reproduce our societal biases. I’m proud to have joined my colleagues today is this important and timely discussion.”
Participants in the hearing included Amaya Capellan, Chief Information Officer, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Angela Ferritto, President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; Cole Scandaglia, Senior Legislative Representative, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Dr. Dajiang Liu, Professor and Vice Chairman for Research at the Department of Public Health Sciences, PSU School of Medicine; Dr. Shandong Wu, Founding Director, Pittsburgh Center for AI Innovation in Medical Imaging.
All submitted testimony from the policy hearing and the full video is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy.
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Panel 1: Effects on Government
Panel 2: Workforce Impacts
- Angela Ferritto, President – Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
- Cole Scandaglia, Senior Legislative Representative – International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Panel 3: Healthcare Impacts
- Dr. Dajiang Liu, Professor and Vice Chairman for Research, Department of Public Health Sciences – Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine
- Dr. Shandong Wu, Associate Professor – University of Pittsburgh; Founding Director – Pittsburgh Center for AI Innovation in Medical Imaging