AI Regulation Is Finally Making Its Way to the United States, Although Progress Is Gradual

**Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Create National AI Commission**

A bipartisan group of legislators introduced the National AI Commission Act on June 20th. The bill proposes the creation of a commission focused on the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). The commission’s goal would be to review the current approach to AI regulation in the United States, make recommendations on any necessary governmental structures, and develop a risk-based framework for AI. Representatives Ted Lieu, Ken Buck, and Anna Eshoo are the authors of the bill.

**Bipartisan Makeup of the Commission**

The bill emphasizes the importance of bipartisan collaboration in the commission. It proposes a bipartisan group of legislators, industry members, and civil society representatives. The commission will consist of three members from each of the Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as from the Democratic and Republican members of the Senate. In addition, the President will choose eight members from lists generated by those four groups, ensuring a mix that is bipartisan. This bipartisan makeup increases the likelihood of enacting any recommendations made by the commission.

**Balancing Risks and Innovation**

The commission will be responsible for considering how AI regulation can mitigate risks and harms while still preserving the United States’ leadership in AI innovation. Striking a balance between these two considerations will require the development of a comprehensive regulatory approach that addresses potential drawbacks and harnesses the transformative power of AI for societal and economic benefits.

**Reviewing Existing AI Regulation**

One of the tasks assigned to the commission is to review the different ways that existing agencies regulate or oversee AI. This review will help the commission determine whether a stand-alone AI regulatory agency is needed or if AI regulation is best left to existing agencies. This issue has been a subject of debate between companies such as Open AI and Google, and the commission’s review will provide valuable insights in this regard.

**Timeline for the Commission’s Work**

The bill specifies a timeline for the commission to conduct its work. Reports would be due six, twelve, and twenty-four months after the commission’s creation. While this timeline may seem slow compared to the proposed European Union (EU) AI Act set to go into effect at the end of 2023, a slower approach allows the U.S. to observe the regulatory landscape and learn from the EU’s experiences. Furthermore, a measured approach ensures that the U.S. can tailor its regulations for the economy as a whole, based on what works and what doesn’t.

**Potential Risks of Delayed Federal Regulation**

It is important to acknowledge the potential risks of delayed federal AI regulation. By moving slowly, the U.S. may become subject to the regulations imposed by other countries and entities. In the case of autonomous vehicles, for example, different states already have different regulations in place, creating a fragmented regulatory landscape. Delayed federal action also increases the risks of a patchwork of AI regulations being enacted at the state and local levels, potentially hampering industry growth.

**Benefits of a Measured Approach**

On the other hand, a slower approach to federal AI regulation allows the U.S. to learn from the experiences of other entities and tailor its regulations accordingly. It provides an opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t and ensures that regulations are crafted with the necessary expertise and consideration. Representative Lieu, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, emphasizes the importance of having a commission of experts advise Congress to avoid potential mistakes.

**Striking the Right Balance**

In summary, the National AI Commission Act aims to strike a balance between regulating the risks of AI and preserving the United States’ leadership in innovation. The bipartisan and inclusive approach ensures that AI regulation is tailored to the needs of the U.S. economy. However, a measured approach must also consider the potential risks of delayed federal regulation and the need to avoid a fragmented regulatory landscape. By taking the time needed to get AI regulation right, the U.S. can benefit from the experiences of others and avoid potential mistakes.

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