AI Regulation Consensus

Senator Chuck Schumer reported that all the tech giants in the government meeting on AI regulation were in agreement that government regulation for AI is a necessity. Schumer and 60 senators met with Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai , and many more technology and information industry leaders.

According to CNN, Schumer, along with Senators Mike Rounds, Martin Heinrich, and Todd Young, will be leading the effort to come up with practical ways of regulating AI. However, two other senators, Richard Blumenthal and Josh Hawley, already have a bill in the works. They sneered at the private meeting with tech leaders, questioning whether the meeting could lead to effective regulation.

“I don’t know why we would invite all the biggest monopolists in the world to come and give Congress tips on how to help them make more money, and then close it to the public,” Hawley said. “I mean, that’s a terrible idea. These are the same people who have ruined social media.”

Government regulation of technology

Congress has had difficulty regulating information technology effectively. One problem is a lack of information and understanding about how the technology works. The meeting was supposed to help with that.

Blumenthal and Hawley’s proposed framework gives some basic guidelines, beginning with, “Companies developing sophisticated general-purpose A.I. models (e.g., GPT-4) or models used in high-risk situations (e.g., facial recognition) should be required to register with an independent oversight body.”

The White House is working on an AI Bill of Rights which has five pillars:

  • Safe and Effective Systems
  • Algorithmic Discrimination Protections
  • Data Privacy
  • Notice and Explanation
  • Human Alternatives, Consideration, and Fallback

There are also some individual bills proposing various AI regulations. S2691 requires labeling of AI-generated content. S2765 is similar, but requires a watermark. S2770 outlaws deceptive AI-generated political ads. HR4233 establishes an AI commission to propose regulation. There are, as of this writing, 41 AI-related bills under consideration in Congress.

States also have their own laws. Many states have only gotten to the point of requiring studies, but North Dakota has passed a law saying that artificial intelligence cannot be defined as “an individual” for legal purposes.

Agree to disagree?

While there appears to be broad agreement that some kind of government regulation is necessary, there are many topics on which people don’t so far agree.

Copyright protection is one. Whether there should be a new agency to take on the job is another. There are also questions on what exactly should be regulated: the technology itself, the companies that use it, or specific applications of the tech.