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Stanford HAI Congressional Boot Camp on Artificial Intelligence 

About the Boot Camp

Congressional staff play a key role in shaping and developing policy on critical technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI). Rapid advancements in AI make it challenging for many, and especially Congressional staff, to keep up with a quickly evolving field. The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI) specifically designed the Congressional Boot Camp on Artificial Intelligence to explore the latest in AI developments, equipping participants with the comprehensive knowledge needed to think critically about regulating and governing this emerging technology.

The Congressional Boot Camp on AI will convene staffers from both the House and Senate on Stanford University’s campus in California. The multi-day, bi-partisan boot camp consists of many sessions unpacking what AI means for international security, future of work, healthcare, and includes field trips to Stanford labs for interactive experiences. Each session will feature world-class scholars from Stanford University, leaders from Silicon Valley, and pioneers from civil society organizations.

The boot camp will take place August 8-11, 2022 and is a great opportunity for staffers to learn from leading scholars in AI. Not only will participants have ample opportunity to engage with featured speakers, but also to connect with fellow staffers who are thinking about the same issues. Further, staffers will receive a Stanford University certificate of completion upon the conclusion of the boot camp. We encourage staffers working on technology issues to apply by 5pm EDT on Friday July 1, 2022.

Apply now!


More session information and speakers will be added as the agenda for this event continues to develop. 

Welcome and Introductions


Mapping the AI Landscape
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not comprised of a single technology, but many. Moreover, the AI technologies that we see being deployed around the world today vary widely in their core features, capabilities, and use potential. This course provides a birds eye view of the AI landscape, key subjects, and variations that are important for all policymakers to understand. Topics include machine learning, deep learning and neural networks, computer vision, natural language processing, supervised and unsupervised learning, compute power, narrow versus general AI, among others.


Artificial Intelligence and Safety
The consequences of deploying robust AI and decision-making technologies in safety-critical systems such as driverless vehicles and autonomous aircraft are enormous. Challenges to the human designers of AI in this field range from vast sets of edge cases, environmental uncertainties, and constantly evolving landscapes, among others. Designers must also make difficult-- and often politically fraught-- decisions around operational efficiency, how to react to particular uncertainties, and acceptable risk parameters.


The Fuel of AI: Data (and Its Perils)
Contemporary AI technologies run on data. AI designers face enormous challenges in  acquiring data, cleaning data, ensuring data’s inherent bias’ (and their non-obvious proxies) are accounted for in their AI systems. Moreover, different social values around privacy, data ownership, and data creation-- and the policies resulting from them-- will impact what AI technologies are possible today and what the future paths of innovation in AI will look like. On top of all this, geopolitics and economic futures will be determined by the choices we make around data policy.   

Foundation Models & NLP
You have read about them in the news, you have heard passing references to them in briefings. Though not always the most important dimensions to understanding AI, you know you need to know about the topics dominating the public conversation about AI. This course tackles what you really need to know about explainability and auditability, bias in AI, facial recognition surveillance technology, and other AI topics garnering public attention. It’s time to separate what’s real from what’s hype for the policymaker.

Separating Myth from Reality: AI and the Future of Work
From an economic perspective, few questions are as persistent around AI as what will be its impact on the future of work, economics, and the labor force. With fears of AI replacing workers often overblown, AI’s transformative potential seems to reside more in its ability to augment, enhance, and supercharge labor, output, and efficiencies. At the same time, workforce impacts will not be uniform and some replacement is inevitable. This course separates the myths from the realities surrounding the current impacts of AI on work, and points to the most likely future impacts of AI on labor and work, with an eye toward policy implications. 

AI and International Security
AI is changing the battlefield today. In the physical world (kinetic battlefield), AI systems already operate with both human-in-the-loop systems and autonomous decision-making capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, AI is augmenting and enhancing human capabilities, both offensively and defensively. In cyberspace, the cyber wars are only expanding in possibilities and dangers as AI is deployed to complement traditional cyber methods, again in both offensive and defensive dimensions.  How will AI change escalation dynamics and the future of warfare, and what are the prospects for international cooperation?

AI and Cybersecurity
AI is remaking the cybersecurity landscape today. Countries, sub-state, and trans-national entities-- including governmental, corporate, and civil society actors-- are all under threat from increasingly sophisticated attackers. These cyber adversaries range from state agents to political hacktivists, but each share a common aim of circumventing security measures for their desired ends. How is AI transforming the threatscape and range of possible responses? What can we expect as barrier costs to entering the AI battlefield come down for all sides of the equation?


Geopolitics, China, and AI
AI will continue to complicate geopolitics in several key areas-- security, talent and migration, economics, trade and intellectual property, science and discovery, human rights and disaster relief, among many others. Indeed, from our view today, AI superiority looks to be one of the most important currencies on the international scene for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, China is already being heralded as the world’s first AI superpower (Forbes, 2020). What are the policy considerations and implications for the broader geopolitical landscape and with regard to China in particular? What are the places where the competition is (or should be) real, where are the gravest dangers, and where might there be opportunities for increased cooperation for mutual benefit?

Economics of AI
AI’s economic impact goes well beyond the future of work and labor forces alone. This course examines cutting-edge insights on the implications of AI for large-scale economies.  This session will address how firms are considering AI use cases within their companies and integrating AI technologies into their business models, as well as how the government and society will need to prepare for the coming changes to labor markets.

Speakers TBD

Industry Perspectives Panel 
How are leaders in industry viewing the AI revolution in their firms? This session invites senior executives and engineers to discuss the “ground truths” of AI opportunities and challenges that they live day in and day out. How are questions of innovation, privacy, security, talent acquisition and costs, operational security, and newly central corporate questions-- such as those around ethics and corporate responsibility-- playing out on the frontlines of industry today?

Keynote Dinner

AI and Education
AI has the potential to dramatically improve education on an array of different fronts. From supporting teachers to address inequalities and bias in their classrooms to helping meet and engage students where they are and advance their own curiosities, at its best AI has the ability to democratize extraordinary teaching and learning. But dangers and concerns exist-- from questions of privacy and data collection around children to whether AI will only exacerbate differences in learning outcomes. What are the key considerations as we consider AI within one of the most important arenas for social, economic, and national success?

Public Sector AI
The deployment of AI within governmental and social impact sectors has seen incredible successes-- from fighting human trafficking to identifying rogue pollutors to cataloging previously unknown infrastructure networks to helping police departments reduce bias in their encounters with the public. At the same time, limitations on compute power, data access, and an inability to hire top talent into the government and social sectors present severe constraints on expanding AI’s positive social impacts. What is possible with AI today and what can we expect if these constraints continue?


AI in Healthcare
Healthcare is being transformed by the introduction in AI in countless ways: from reading medical scans and images better than the best human doctors to helping reduce hospital disease transmission to helping doctors improve patient visits to helping the elderly live in their home longer. Moreover, as the U.S. faces an incredible shortage of qualified healthcare workers, can AI help “save” the U.S. system? And how should concerns about AI’s limitations, privacy concerns, surveillance, and social and medical preferences for human connection help us navigate the challenging waters just ahead of us? Finally, what are the unique challenges and opportunities associated with healthcare data that policymakers need to have in view?

Keynote Lunch


AI, Arts, and Culture
Artististic and cultural expressions are one of the hallmarks of advanced societies as well as what it is to flourish as individuals and communities. Furthermore, today we also understand the intersection of arts and culture with wellness, innovation, creativity, diversity, and health. AI is expanding artistic and cultural expressions, opening up new possibilities and worlds for our state, local, and federal arts and culture programs. Going well beyond STEAM interests alone, this session provides insights into places where AI is opening new opportunities for arts and culture policy, and places where the merging of AI technologies in the arts sector can make a powerful impact. It also identifies obstacles to a broad sharing in these fundamentally human dimensions of the AI revolution.