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 MarkeySenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Massachusetts is leading the way on gun safety, but we can’t do it alone Lobbying World 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 CantwellCoal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee Can the climate movement survive populism? Lessons from 'yellow vest' protests Manchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives MORE (D-Wash.), who spearheaded the legislation, and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungKevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force GOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote MORE (R-Ind.)

AI Caucus co-chairmen Reps. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyBiden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report Julián Castro launches exploratory committee for possible 2020 White House bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Dem leaders spar before cameras at meeting over border wall | Senate to vote on criminal justice bill | Google chief gets grilling MORE (D-Md.) and Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonPrivacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Midterm results shake up national map GOP lawmaker Olson holds on in Texas district MORE (R-Texas) sponsored the House version of the legislation.

Senate Commerce member Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum Giuliani attack on Twitter prompts backlash Bipartisan lawmakers call for investigation into VA amid issues with GI Bill benefit payments 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.