Congress Takes Important Step on Preparing U.S. Workers for the AI Economy

January 18, 2018

WASHINGTON–In response to the introduction today of the Artificial Intelligence Job Opportunities and Background Summary Act (AI JOBS Act) of 2018 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), and Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), ITIF's Center for Data Innovation issued the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:

AI will cause some portions of the job market to grow and others to shrink. This bill sets aside the irrational fear that AI will cause massive unemployment and instead offers level-headed steps to begin preparing U.S. workers for the AI economy.

The country that leads in AI will gain significant benefits for its businesses, workers, and consumers, but no country can become the global leader in AI if its workforce does not have the skills necessary to develop the technology and effectively apply it to different sectors of the economy. The AI JOBS Act begins to address this problem by directing the Department of Labor to assess how AI will impact the American workforce, including the education needed to succeed in the AI economy, the ways in which AI will augment worker skills, and the demographics of those most impact by new career opportunities. In addition, the Department of Labor would be responsible for recommending ways to alleviate those affected by job displacement.

The U.S. government collects little economic data about the adoption of AI among U.S. businesses, even though this technology is expected to be a major driver of economic productivity. Without this information, policymakers cannot make informed decisions about how to capture and share the benefits of AI or promote its adoption. To address this problem, the AI JOBS Act requires the Department of Labor to identify the economic data necessary to accurately analyze the impact and growth of AI—an important step to ensure policymakers can successfully navigate these uncharted waters.

We appreciate the leadership shown on this issue by Representatives Krishnamoorthi and Soto along with Representatives Ferguson, Mitchell, and Comstock, and we look forward to working with them as this bill progresses through Congress.

The Center for Data Innovation is the leading global think tank studying the intersection of data, technology, and public policy. With staff in Washington, DC, and Brussels, the Center formulates and promotes pragmatic public policies designed to maximize the benefits of data-driven innovation in the public and private sectors. It educates policymakers and the public about the opportunities and challenges associated with data, as well as technology trends such as predictive analytics, open data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute proudly affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. For more about the Center, visit datainnovation.org.