Assembly Committees Convenes First Informational Hearing On Artificial Intelligence

“The possibility of creating computer programs or machines that think like humans brings with it ethical and legal questions that we must answer,"

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – State legislators, key academics, industry experts, government liaisons, and consumer representatives convened on Tuesday for the first hearing of the California State Assembly on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The committees examined the promises and challenges associated with AI, and impact it may have on the workforce, consumers, government, and businesses. Also considered was the role that the Legislature should take in approaching this complex and emerging issue.

“The possibility of creating computer programs or machines that think like humans brings with it ethical and legal questions that we must answer, as their application becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park). “This hearing is the first step to answering some of those questions by encouraging the dialogue necessary for us to find a balance between protecting our state’s population, while simultaneously driving innovation and productivity.” 

A recently published article by Wired titled, The Wired Guide to Artificial Intelligence, noted that AI is frequently associated with technologies linked to our smartphones, or new gadgets like virtual assistants or smart speakers like Alexa or Google Home. Beyond such examples, however, it is not as obvious what AI looks like five years down the line, let alone 10. Similarly, it is not as readily foreseeable as to what the AI applications are in the social and governmental spaces and how exactly AI may play a role in shifting and changing our society and our economy in the next decade. At the joint informational hearing, the Committees heard about both traditional and less traditional applications of AI that range from the commercial, social, and governmental spaces, as they prepare to grapple with the question of how we should view the opportunities and challenges of AI through the public policy lens.

“AI is an issue that warrants greater awareness, understanding, and debate among various stakeholders and it is my plan to hold subsequent gatherings to continue this dialogue in the months and years ahead.”

The hearing was titled, "Identifying the Promises and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence: shaping the future of California public policy to prepare and protect the state’s population, including its workforce and consumers, while simultaneously driving innovation and productivity as a leader in the global marketplace.” It included expert testimony from Olaf J. Groth, Ph.D., at HULT International Business School, UC Berkeley BRIE & WITS, and; Lenny Mendonca, Co-Chair of California Forward, Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey, and Chairman of New America; Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Doug Bloch, Political Director at the Teamsters Joint Council 7; Peter Liebert, Chief Information Security Officer at the California Department of Technology; Vikrum Aiyer, Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Communication at Postmates; Paul Dagum, MD & PhD, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mindstrong; Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney, ACLU of Northern CA; Jonathan Feldman of the California Police Chiefs Association; Dana Rao, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation at Adobe; Sara Flocks, California Labor Federation; and Samantha Corbin, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Assemblymember Chau is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection and Select Committee on Emerging Technologies and Innovation. He represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello and South El Monte.

For additional information and a copy of the agenda, please visit: