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Bipartisan US bill seeks to introduce a national AI commission

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced a bill to establish a commission to review the country’s approach toward artificial intelligence (AI) and recommend appropriate regulation where necessary. 

The National AI Commission Act, as it’s known, was introduced by Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). Once created, the goal of the Commission is to review the current approach to AI regulation in the U.S., make recommendations on any new office or governmental structure that may be necessary, and develop a risk-based framework for AI.

“Artificial Intelligence is doing amazing things for our society. It can also cause significant harm if left unchecked and unregulated,” Lieu said. “Our bill forges a path toward responsible AI regulation that promotes technological progress while keeping Americans safe.”

The emphasis on supporting innovative technology while protecting against risk was echoed by fellow congressman Buck from across the aisle, who said, “Artificial intelligence holds tremendous opportunity for individuals and our economy. It’s also possible that AI poses a great risk for our national security.”

The aim is for the Commission to be comprised of experts from civil society, government, industry, and labor. It’s hoped that by bringing together a varied group with technical expertise, the Commission can develop a comprehensive framework for AI regulation that addresses some of the concerns the technology has raised. 

“The National AI Commission Act is an important first step to bring together stakeholders and experts to better understand how we can regulate AI and what guardrails must be in place as AI become more prevalent across society,” Eshoo said.

These stakeholders and experts will likely include some of the names quoted in support of the bill on its announcement page, which included Merve Hickok, President of the Center for AI and Digital Policy, who said, “We believe this is a timely proposal that will create the necessary guardrails for AI and ensure public participation in the development of the nation’s AI strategy.”

Academic Gary Marcus, Professor Emeritus at New York University and co-author of Rebooting AI, was also quoted: 

“It is urgent that the United States develop an AI strategy that allows its citizens to thrive. The bipartisan National AI Commission Act represents a much-needed recognition of that urgency.”

The bill will now go before Congress to be voted on, and with AI moving ever higher up the cultural and political agenda, it’s likely the bipartisan legislation will get a favorable outcome. 

Meanwhile, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) is set to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

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