Q&A: Josh Lowenthal, chair of California’s select committee on automation

The state assemblymember discusses the new panel’s goals and AI’s pros and cons.
California Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (D), chair of the Select Committee on Automation and Workforce Development. (Courtesy of Lowenthal’s Assembly office)

The November debut of ChatGPT, the generative artificial intelligence chatbot, served as a wake-up call to state and federal policymakers that the era of AI has arrived. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in America’s statehouses are wrestling with the implications of computers-as-humans and trying to figure out what guardrails are needed.

In California, a new Select Committee on Automation and Workforce Development was tasked with researching this brave new world and its potential effects on the economy and jobs. To get a sense of the role of the select committee and the issues it will research, we spoke with Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (D) of Long Beach, who was appointed chair of the select committee.

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