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 MarkeyOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report 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 CantwellPartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Senators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Poll: Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade MORE (D-Wash.), who spearheaded the legislation, and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen MORE (R-Ind.)

AI Caucus co-chairmen Reps. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyMcAuliffe won't rule out 2020 run in Iowa campaign swing Did Congress just settle for less than best plan to reform housing finance? 2020 Dems jockey for position before midterm elections MORE (D-Md.) and Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonOvernight Energy: Trump pick to lead mining regulator withdraws | Watchdog questions ethics of ,000 in Zinke concert tickets | House votes to ease natural gas exports Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems Worst-case scenario for House GOP is 70-seat wipeout MORE (R-Texas) sponsored the House version of the legislation.

Senate Commerce member Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana 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.