WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and other lawmakers examined the potential dangers from artificial intelligence across the globe and at home Thursday.

“I think we’re in unchartered waters to a certain extent,” Manchin said. “Those of you ahead of the curve right now can help us from falling into the deep end.”

Manchin said a recent M.I.T. study showed some of the risks when an AI chatbot gave a group of students information on how to cause another pandemic.

“And these were non-scientist students? How can we put the cat back in the box,” Manchin said.

“I don’t think we can put it back in the box,” said Rick L. Stevens, Argonne National Labs associate laboratory director. “I think we’re going to need — we have to get smarter about how we manage the risks associated with advanced AI systems.”

Both lawmakers and experts agreed the U.S. needs to be the world leader on AI. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) fears China could try to copy the U.S.’ advancements.

“Are the national labs really able to protect themselves,” Hoeven said, “not only in terms of the information they have, but also as they hire people.”

“We need to be very aware and we need to have a layered strategy to deal with these security challenges,” said Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk.

But there are positives.

The Department of Energy said it uses some of the world’s fastest supercomputers with AI for new innovations, scientific advancement and risk assessment.