Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., is signaling that he is serious about passing some form of regulatory framework for artificial intelligence when Congress returns from the August recess.
Schumer is planning to kick off a series of bipartisan “AI Insight Forums,” he told Senate Democrats in a letter Friday morning, in an effort to engage lawmakers about the rapidly advancing technology. The first, on September 13, will feature tech leaders like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Altman, among others.
“These forums will build on the longstanding work of our Committees by enhancing the typical Senate process so we can keep pace with the rapid development of AI,” Schumer said. “It won’t be easy, it will be one of the hardest things we will undertake, but in the 21st century, we cannot act like ostriches in the sand when it comes to artificial intelligence. We must treat artificial intelligence with the same level of seriousness as national security, creation of jobs and our civil liberties.”
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The New York Democrat has made AI regulation a primary focus of his narrow majority in this Congress, convening a bipartisan AI working group dedicated to engaging colleagues enough to discuss regulatory efforts.
A member of that working group, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., praised the series of forums with Fox News Digital and said they would help put lawmakers “in the driver’s seat” on AI.
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“The AI Insight Forums will provide a comprehensive way for Congress to explore key policy issues, opportunities and threats related to AI as we develop potential legislative solutions,” Young said.
“The style of the forums will allow us to explore, with the help of experts and stakeholders, a wide range of topics at an in-depth level, while keeping relevant committees and their members in the driving seat when it comes to outcomes legislative.”
“With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence in recent years, this process couldn’t be more timely and necessary,” said Young.
It’s the second set of learning sessions Schumer is launching for the Senators. Before the August break, his bipartisan working group launched a series of intelligence briefings on AI, culminating in the first Senate-wide briefing on AI and national security in July.
But despite the relatively bipartisan sentiments toward creating AI guardrails, not everyone in the Senate agrees.
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“I am concerned that China is investing heavily in AI. I am also concerned that Democrats want to impose such stringent regulations on the development of AI that it stifles innovation in the United States and allows China to take the lead.” Senator Ted said. Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital after the July confidential briefing. “That would be a generational mistake.”
The ambitious regulatory push comes during a time of great crisis for the Senate. The House must work out some sort of spending deal with the GOP-led House to avoid a government shutdown by Sept. 30, as well as reauthorize the FAA, FISA and other critical programs by the end of the year.
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