Chuck Schumer and a bipartisan group of senators unveiled plans to regulate AI — while investing billions of dollars in it

Chuck Schumer and a bipartisan group of senators unveiled plans to regulate AI — while investing billions of dollars in it

Federal legislation to govern artificial intelligence took a step closer to reality on Wednesday when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with a trio of bipartisan senators, announced a broad blueprint to shape how congressional committees deal with the technology in upcoming bills.

The 31-page roadmap released this week calls for billions of dollars in government spending to accelerate AI research and development, reflecting earlier commitments by Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and the so-called “AI gang” to prioritize US innovation in a competitive field. intense

It also directed several Senate committees to prepare fences for AI to address some of its biggest risks, such as AI-enabled discrimination, job displacement and election interference.

“Harnessing the potential of AI requires a comprehensive approach and that’s what our bipartisan AI working group is leading,” Schumer said Wednesday.

Some of the document’s proposals reflect long-standing congressional goals, such as the creation of national data privacy laws that give consumers more control over their personal information and that could help regulate the use of such data by AI companies.

Others appear to be modeled after legislation adopted by the European Union, such as a proposed ban on the use of AI for a social scoring system similar to that implemented by the Chinese government.

And it urged a congressional committee to develop a coherent policy for when and how to impose export controls on “powerful AI systems” — or to designate certain AI models as classified for national security purposes.

The roadmap supports a recommendation to allocate at least $32 billion a year, or at least 1% of US GDP, to AI research and development, a recommendation issued in a 2021 report by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

The organizing plan was developed over months of meetings and listening sessions with high-tech companies, civil rights leaders, labor unions and intellectual property holders. And it aims to revive a legislative push that began last year, after Schumer took a personal role in spearheading the effort with New Mexico’s Democratic senator. Martin Heinrich and Republican Senators. South Dakota’s Mike Rounds and Indiana’s Todd Young.

“This roadmap represents the most comprehensive and effective bipartisan recommendation on artificial intelligence ever issued by the legislative branch,” Young said Wednesday.

The latest plan highlights how Senate leaders are trying to move from the learning phase to the action phase, by issuing assignments to committees to draft legislation that might pass piecemeal. Schumer has previously said that with the 2024 election looming, he may make it a top priority to pass legislation aimed at protecting elections from AI-driven interference.

Schumer has described regulating artificial intelligence as a challenge for Congress unlike any other, vowing a fast timeline measured in months, not years. But policy analysts, and some congressional aides, doubt whether Congress can pass landmark legislation regulating AI in an election year.

Meanwhile, the European Union has surged ahead with AI regulation, giving final approval in March to the trade bloc’s landmark EU AI Act that bans certain AI applications altogether and imposes significant restrictions on others deemed “high-risk.” ”

On Wednesday, some in the tech industry applauded the release of the Senate roadmap.

“This AI policy roadmap is an encouraging start, focusing on defending the screen and recording industry against unauthorized replicas,” said Dana Rao, general counsel and chief trust officer at Adobe. “It is important for governments to provide protection across the wider creative ecosystem.”

Rao urged lawmakers to pass laws enshrining the nation’s right to disguise to protect artists from their AI-generated clones.

“Technology is borderless, and as a global leader in innovation, the US needs a clear national AI policy with fences so that American innovation in AI can flourish safely,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

Some consumer advocates are more critical,

saying that the roadmap was vague in its recommendations to address AI risks.

“This framework passionately proposes to pour American tax dollars into AI research and development for military, defense and private sector profiteering. Meanwhile, there is almost nothing meaningful around some of the most important and pressing AI policy issues like technology’s impact on policing, immigration and workers’ rights,” said Evan Greer, director of the advocacy group Fight For the Future, adding that the document “sounds like it was written by Sam Altman and Big Tech lobbyists.”

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