Lawmakers introduce bipartisan AI legislation

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan AI legislation
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislation in both the House and Senate on Tuesday aimed at bolstering the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

The Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2017 — or FUTURE of AI Act — aims to both ensure the U.S.’s global competitiveness in AI, as well as protect the public’s civil liberties and ease potential unemployment that the technology produces.

“While artificial intelligence holds the promise of providing goods and services more efficiently and effectively, increased automation has potentially broad negative impacts on our workforce and our privacy,” explained Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Mass.).

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“This bill serves as an important step in bringing together all stakeholders to better understand how this new technology will impact our lives,” he continued.

Markey co-sponsored the Senate legislation along with fellow Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThree lessons from BIPA for data privacy legislation Swing votes steal spotlight in marathon Trump impeachment Q&A Hillicon Valley: UK allows Huawei to build 5G in blow to Trump | Lawmakers warn decision threatens intel sharing | Work on privacy bill inches forward | Facebook restricts travel to China amid virus MORE (D-Wash.), who spearheaded the legislation, and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungLobbying World Republican Senate campaign arm hauled in over million in January The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ind.)

AI Caucus co-chairmen Reps. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyNevada caucuses open with a few hiccups Lobbying world The Hill's Campaign Report: Four-way sprint to Iowa finish line MORE (D-Md.) and Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonGun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 Republican wins Texas special election Texas House special election to gauge suburban mood MORE (R-Texas) sponsored the House version of the legislation.

Senate Commerce member Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzKudlow claims coronavirus has been contained: 'It's pretty close to air-tight' Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Poll: Majority of Democrats say Electoral College delegates should cast ballots based on popular vote MORE (D-Hawaii) also announced on Tuesday that he would be introducing his own legislation on the matter. While largely similar to Cantwell and company’s bill, Schatz’s differs in that it would create an independent commission to focus on helping agencies that currently address AI, as opposed to the federal advisory committee appointed by Senate Commerce as Cantwell proposes.

The new bills come the same day as the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing regarding the advancement of AI.

During the testimony, experts and lawmakers expressed concern over other countries developing government initiatives to bolster AI technology, something the U.S. currently lacks.

“When it comes to AI, successfully integrating this technology into U.S. industries should be the primary goal of policymakers, and given the rapid pace at which other countries are pursuing this goal, the United States cannot afford to rest on its laurels,” said Daniel Castro, vice president at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that focuses on tech issues.

“To date, the U.S. government has not declared its intent to remain globally dominant in this field, nor has it begun the even harder task of developing a strategy to achieve that vision,” he added.

“Federal funding for AI research and development has been relatively flat, even as the importance of the field has dramatically increased,” added Edward Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, who also testified before Senate Commerce on Tuesday.