U.S. Lawmakers Propose Legislation to Govern AI in Government Operations

K. C. Sabreena Basheer 12 Jan, 2024
3 min read

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced a bill aimed at regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by federal agencies and their vendors. The proposed legislation is sponsored by Democrats Ted Lieu and Don Beyer, along with Republicans Zach Nunn and Marcus Molinaro. It seeks to establish guidelines for the responsible implementation of AI technologies. This reflects the growing recognition of the need for regulation in the rapidly advancing field.

Also Read: Indian Government Contemplates Adding AI Regulations to IT Act

Overview of the Proposed Legislation

The bill, introduced on Wednesday, is seen as a measured yet significant step toward addressing the risks associated with AI. It shares common ground with a Senate version introduced in November by Republican Jerry Moran and Democrat Mark Warner. If approved, the legislation would mandate federal agencies to adopt AI guidelines released by the Commerce Department last year.

Democrats and republicans together propose laws for AI regulation in the U.S.

Specific Standards for AI Suppliers

In addition to adopting existing guidelines, the proposed legislation compels the Commerce Department to develop specific standards for companies providing AI services to the U.S. government. This move aims to ensure a uniform and secure framework for AI implementation across federal agencies. The bill further calls on the Federal Procurement Policy chief to establish rules requiring AI suppliers to grant access to data, models, and parameters for thorough testing and evaluation.

Addressing Concerns About Generative AI

The emergence of generative AI, capable of creating text, photos, and videos in response to prompts, has sparked excitement and concern. Lawmakers acknowledge the potential benefits but express worries about job displacement, election manipulation, and the possibility of bad actors accessing critical infrastructure. This recognition underscores the need for regulations that balance innovation with responsible use.

Also Read: ‘The Coming Wave’: Mustafa Suleyman’s Call for AI Regulation

AI regulation in 2024

U.S. vs. European Progress in AI Regulation

While the U.S. has taken tentative steps toward AI regulation, Europe has made significant strides. The proposed U.S. legislation is positioned as part of a broader global effort to establish comprehensive frameworks for governing AI. In October, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to enhance AI safety, but the European Union has already implemented the AI Act, prohibiting certain AI systems and classifying others as “high risk” with specific safety measures.

Also Read: EU’s AI Act to Set Global Standard in AI Regulation, Asian Countries Remain Cautious

Our Say

The introduction of this legislation signifies a crucial recognition by U.S. lawmakers of the potential risks associated with unregulated AI. While the proposed bill is modest, its bipartisan support and alignment with existing Senate efforts suggest a genuine effort to navigate the complex landscape of AI governance. Striking a balance between fostering innovation and addressing ethical concerns is paramount, and this legislation represents a step toward achieving that equilibrium. As the world grapples with the implications of rapidly advancing AI technologies, the U.S. government

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