Hillary Clinton has revealed that, had she won the 2016 presidential election, she would have enacted a plan for the coming rise in artificial intelligence. The former Democratic nominee said in a new interview that the United States is “racing headfirst into a new era,” and the country needs to prepare before it’s too late.

“One thing I wanted to do if I had been president was to have a kind of blue ribbon commission with people from all kinds of expertise coming together to say what should America’s policy on artificial intelligence be?” Clinton told radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview published Wednesday.

Clinton listed a number of issues that this commission would have looked at. These include the rise in autonomous vehicles, which could potentially mean job losses for Uber drivers and parcel delivery people. Clinton also warned about an Internet of Things-powered future where more personal data is recorded and “can be manipulated against us.”

A blue ribbon commission is one formed of nonpartisan experts and other notable figures to tackle a major issue. An example of one was the Warren Commission, set up in 1963 by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Another is the 2006 Iraq Study Group that made recommendations about possible exit strategies. California’s lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom formed a commission of policy makers, public health experts and academics to study marijuana laws.

“A lot of really smart people, you know, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, a lot of really smart people are sounding an alarm that we’re not hearing,” Clinton said. “And their alarm is artificial intelligence is not our friend.”

Bill Gates.
Bill Gates.

Stephen Hawking has warned that the technology could be “the worst thing ever to happen to humanity” if action is not taken. Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the National Governors Association meeting this summer that government needs to be proactive in response to these threats.

It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump’s office has a similar plan in mind. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Axios in March that A.I. taking jobs is “not even on our radar screen,” placing the timeframe of such a shift as somewhere between 50 and 100 years away.


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