In a Congress plagued by partisan disagreement, the need to regulate artificial intelligence is a bipartisan bright spot.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Josh Hawley announced a new framework that tackles some of the top priorities. Their plan includes creating a new federal agency with expertise in artificial intelligence, establishing a licensing regime for companies involved in AI, protecting national and economic security, and requiring transparency for AI created products.
But senators acknowledge this priority framework doesn’t tackle all their AI-related concerns.
“My nightmare is the massive unemployment that could be created. That is an issue that we don’t deal with directly here, but it shows how wide the ramifications may be. And we do need to deal with potential worker displacement and training,” said Blumenthal.
The White House is also making artificial intelligence a priority. In July, seven leading tech companies, including Google and Meta, voluntarily signed on to a set of safety parameters. Earlier this week, another eight companies joined the agreement.
The tech community so far seems to welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers on a responsible path forward.
“Let’s learn from the experience the whole world had with social media. And let’s be clear eyed about the promise and the peril, in equal measure, as we look to the future of AI. I would first say I think your framework does that. It doesn’t attempt to answer every question by design. But it’s a very strong and positive step in the right direction,” said Brad Smith, the vice chair and president of Microsoft.
In the Senate, where the median age is about 65, emerging technology is not usually an area where lawmakers have deep expertise. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is hoping to narrow that information gap with his AI Insight Forum series.
“These forums will provide the nutrient agar, the basis of knowledge and insights essential for our committees to draft smart and effective legislation,” said Schumer on the Senate floor Monday.
Dozens of AI bills have been introduced this Congress, but any effort to regulate it is likely months away. And it’s unclear what the future looks like for any artificial intelligence legislation once it reaches the GOP-controlled House.