Senators Introduce Bills On Artificial Intelligence To Increase Transparency, Compete With China
Flag of USA and China on a processor, CPU or GPU microchip on a motherboard. US companies have become the latest collateral damage in US - China tech war. US limits, restricts AI chips sales to China.
William Potter via Gettyimages

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced two artificial intelligence bills amid growing questions on how to address the rise of the new technology. 

One bill, introduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), and James Lankford (R-OK), would require U.S. government agencies to tell people when the agency is using AI to interact with them and to create a way for them to appeal AI decisions. 

“Artificial intelligence is already transforming how federal agencies are serving the public, but government must be more transparent with the public about when and how they are using these emerging technologies,” Peters said in a press release. “This bipartisan bill will ensure taxpayers know when they are interacting with certain federal AI systems and establishes a process for people to get answers about why these systems are making certain decisions.”

The appeal process would ensure that “critical decisions that may negatively affect individuals” made by AI are reviewed by a human. The legislation comes amid growing concerns about AI after the technology became widely available earlier this year. 

The second bill focuses on international competition in technological development. Introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Todd Young (R-IN), the measure would establish an Office of Global Competition Analysis. The new office would be charged with evaluating the United States’ competitive stance relative to other countries in technology development, including AI.

“This legislation will better synchronize our national security community to ensure America wins the technological race against the Chinese Communist Party.” Sen. Young stated. “There is no single federal agency evaluating American leadership in critical technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing, despite their significance to our national security and economic prosperity. Our bill will help fill this gap.”

The Office of Global Competition Analysis’ proposal was met with praise from leaders in the AI field. Ylli Bajraktari, president and CEO of the Special Competitive Studies Project, a nonprofit aimed at promoting American leadership in AI, stated, “Today, the United States faces a new era of global technology competition and to remain the world’s leading technological power, we need to organize our government for this new competition.”

The new office would also evaluate American competitiveness on semiconductors and quantum computing,” Sen. Bennet said, adding that the U.S. “cannot afford to lose our competitive edge” in developing such technologies “to competitors like China.”

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he scheduled three briefings for senators on AI so lawmakers could be educated on the issue. The briefings include a general overview of AI, ways to achieve American leadership on its development, and a classified session on AI’s defense and intelligence implications.

“AI is already changing our world, and experts have repeatedly told us that it will have a profound impact on everything from our national security to our classrooms to our workforce, including potentially significant job displacement,” Schumer said.

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