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Two Wisconsin task forces look at the potential impact of artificial intelligence on jobs

The Governor's Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence holds its first meeting Monday in Madison.
The Governor's Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence holds its first meeting Monday in Madison.

Two state task forces are now underway in Wisconsin looking at how the use of technology known as AI, or artificial intelligence, may affect the workforce.

AI, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

A hot topic right now is Generative AI, where computers gather data and then generate data with similar characteristics — perhaps in the form of text, images, video and even audio. 

A panel named by Gov. Tony Evers (D) began its work Monday — as President Joe Biden at the White House, was announcing an executive order aimed at governing the development and use of AI safely and responsibly.

In Madison, Missy Hughes, Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, told the Governor's task force that she's already seen AI helping the medical profession.

"I had the chance to visit the Medical College of Wisconsin, where they are using artificial intelligence to predict, using MRI scans, not only was a physician able to remove a prostate cancer tumor. But also, what is the likelihood that tumor is going to recur, given what we're seeing on that individual's scans," Hughes said.

The Evers task force is also looking how jobs may be affected. Emily Rose McRae, of the management consulting firm Gartner, advises employers keep around what she calls information skeptics.

"Everything that comes out of generative AI has to reviewed in some form or fashion. Because there is the risk of hallucination — the model basically lying to you. There's also a legal or operational risk from say copyrighted material. Or, something that comes out that violates laws and regulations. And then there's the reputational risk, because what if the language produced by the tool is biased or bigoted?" McRae said.

While some predict AI will eliminate many jobs, McRae said a better plan for employers is to assure workers of their value in the changing workplace, so they don't quit as the state struggles with a labor shortage.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Racine County) appointed the other state AI task force. A spokesperson did not respond to our question as to how it differs from the Governor's, but noted the schedule of the Vos-appointed panel.

It will hold a public hearing Wednesday in Green Bay.

Evers task force audio provided by Wisconsin Eye.

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