Senate subcommittee in Energy Innovation holds hearing on artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is gradually making its way into the mainstream, a Chicago lawmaker in the Illinois state Senate said during a recent hearing.
"Over the past decade, artificial intelligence has been making its way into our everyday lives without much notice from the public," Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said during a Senate subcommittee on Energy Innovation hearing Sept. 12 about artificial intelligence (AI). "What we typically think of as AI is a small glimpse into what technology is capable of."
Hunter was the only member of the subcommittee present during the hearing, which included six panels of guests speaking at the hearing. Speakers included representatives from Siemens, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Department of Military Affairs, Illinois Commerce Commission, Citizen’s Utility Board and ComEd.
Sacha Fontaine, an engineer with Siemens, spoke about AI-related innovation in the past seven years.
"Since 2011, we've seen a lot more implementations in AI in the public domain," Fontaine said.
Fontaine pointed out Google Home and Amazon Alexa are just two of several intelligent devices that are in most people's homes. America has more blackouts than any other developed nation because of our aging grid, the majority of which was built in the 1950s and 1960s with a 50-year lifespan, Fontaine said.
Argonne National Laboratory Associate Lab Director of Computing, Environment and Life Sciences Rick Stevens said the tech sector is loading up on people that work with machine learning.
The best Chess player, Backgammon player, and several other games are now AI, he said.
Drs. Mohammad Shahidehpour and C. Robert Carlson spoke on the smart grid.
"When we talk about the smart grid, we're not talking about the grid getting smarter, it's the user getting smarter," Shahideehpour said.
AI will play a large roll in society as it continues to grow, Shahideehpour said.
Carlson said as we do more and more things via smart technology and smart deployment, there needs to be a way to override it in case it malfunctions.
Illinois Department of Military Affairs Legislative Liaison Tony Kolbeck read testimony by Major General Richard Hayes.
"I believe the economy is our center of gravity and critical infrastructure is the core enabling element in our modern society," Hayes said in his testimony. "All elements of power are enabled by our economy, so to destroy it is to destroy our economy. Critical infrastructure is a critical vulnerability to the function of the economy."
Jim Zolnierek, the director of policy for Illinois Commerce Commission, said we are in the midst of a remarkable era of innovation in the energy industry, which touches every part of the energy industry.
Bryan McDaniel, Citizens Utility Board's director of government affairs, said there is great potential in machine learning that helps utility bills.
Richard O'Toole, with ComEd, said smart communities are bigger than just technology.
"We're wrapping other initiatives around these technologies," O'Toole said. "Some of these initiatives are addressing both economics and education elements of community."
O'Toole noted the Idea-a-Thon and a curriculum being introduced at one high school that is both academic and vocational and STEM.
Hunter said its important for the corporate world to partner with the community and get them involved.
"You all have done a great job in doing so," Hunter said.