Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled a new proposal Wednesday aimed at creating a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence that he says will protect U.S. consumers and U.S. national security from competitors like China.
It comes as President Biden and lawmakers in both parties are putting new focus on creating regulations around the emerging technology amidst concerns that A.I.’s rate of innovation is outpacing Washington.
“Some experts predict that in just a few years the world could be wholly unrecognizable from the one we live in today. That is what A.I. is: World-altering,” Schumer said in a keynote address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan nonprofit focused on foreign policy and national security.
“We have no choice but to acknowledge that A.I.’s changes are coming, and in many cases are already here,” Schumer said. “We ignore them at our own peril. Many want to ignore A.I. because it’s so complex. But when it comes to A.I., we cannot be ostriches sticking our heads in the sand.”
Schumer’s “SAFE Innovation for A.I.” framework would give the A.I. community and the government five central pillars to safeguard critical attributes such as security and accountability, while still promoting innovation, according to NBC news.
Earlier this week, President Biden met with top A.I. officials in San Francisco where he discussed the future of A.I. as it relates to national security.
“We will see more technological change in the next ten years than we have seen in the last 50 years, and maybe even beyond that,” Biden said before the meeting at a press conference in San Francisco. “In seizing this moment, we need to manage the risk to our society, to our economy, and our national security.”
Last year, Biden unveiled a framework for regulating this new technology with guarantees that A.I. systems will be safe and effective. And next month Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with civil rights leaders and leaders of consumer protection groups to continue talks on A.I.
The importance of regulating A.I. has become a bipartisan issue. Already this month lawmakers in both parties have crafted two proposals to address artificial intelligence, with Schumer signaling that more is coming.
The first proposal backed by Sens. Michael Bennett (D-CO), Todd Young (R-IN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) would create an office of global competition analysis to better understand how the U.S. competes against other countries like China.
The other legislation backed by Homeland Security Chairman Democrat Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, and Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, requires government agencies to be transparent with Americans when deploying artificial intelligence — meaning the government must disclose when you’re talking to a human or a robot.
Washington’s bipartisan approach to artificial intelligence is much needed, said Orit Frenkel, an expert in geopolitics and artificial intelligence and the leader of the Washington-based American Leadership Initiative.
“This is too important an issue to be caught up in partisan politics,” Frenkel said. “A.I. is going to affect every citizen in really every aspect of their lives, from health care to education and jobs. It is really critical that we move in like step to codify regulations that the whole country can get behind.”
From American business leaders there seems to be some apprehensions about A.I. Forty-two percent of CEOs fear that A.I. could destroy humanity within five to ten years, according to a Yale CEO Summit survey released last week.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Frenkel noted that U.S. innovation in technology and science has always been both an economic and national security asset.
A new McKinsey report found that generative A.I. could spur significant global economic growth. The estimated numbers are large, with sums of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion possibly added annually to global GDP – more than the entirety of the United Kingdom’s GDP.
“There are incredible benefits, some of which are happening now, and some that have yet to be realized,” Frenkel said.