Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer came up with a brilliant idea. Schumer is trying to shame tech companies that are using artificial intelligence.
Schumer stated that many people want to ignore AI due to its complexity in a speech he gave at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he unveiled the new framework. “But we can’t be ostriches when it comes to AI. We cannot bury our heads in the ground.”
No one, that I know of, has ever said AI was “too complicated” or wanted to avoid the subject. Schumer quickly knocked his own strawman down.
Schumer stated Wednesday that “Innovation is our North Star.” Schumer said that if people believe AI innovation isn’t done safely or if there aren’t adequate guardrails, it will stop innovation.
Schumer’s approach to AI regulation is not one that the United States government should follow. It’s a simple matter of logic: we do not know the direction AI innovation will go, and imposing “guardrails,” which are rigid and unyielding, could block promising research and development avenues.
Schumer announced that he would convene “AI Insight Forums,” starting in the fall. These meetings will see top AI experts briefing Congress on a variety of topics, including workforce, national safety, privacy, explainability, and even a “doomsday scenario.”
Schumer stated that the forums were meant to free Congress from its slow committee process and regulate the rapidly-evolving technology.
The regulation of artificial intelligence is the biggest government game in the 21st century.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Election Commission (FEC), and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFB) are all making noises about joining them. The turf wars between agencies are sure to be epic.
Schumer stated that “there’s so little legislative history in this area, a new approach is needed.” Schumer warned later that lawmakers would not be able to come up with “the right policies” if they followed the usual path of holding congressional hearings, with each member giving an opening statement and then asking five-minute questions at a time.
The forums won’t start until September. Even if Congress is able to bridge the knowledge gap, the upcoming presidential election will likely limit how much time lawmakers have to come together and pass sweeping legislation.
It is not necessary for Congress to depart from its “typical course.” In fact, the Senate was originally created to curb the passions in the House, which is exactly what AI legislation will be.
Schumer said, “Our goal is to come up with a proposal from the United States.” He called the United States “the world’s largest economy, innovator leader, and intellectual leader.”
Schumer stated, “If we put this together with a serious approach, I believe the rest of the world will follow.”
Schumer’s plans are short on detail, and this should be a cause for concern. Joe Biden’s remarks at a Tuesday meeting in San Francisco with advocates and officials on AI are a good example. He believes that “more technology will change in the next ten years than in the past 50 years.”
Biden stated during the event that “my administration is committed to… safeguarding Americans’ right and safety. From protecting privacy to addressing biases and disinformation to ensuring AI systems are safe prior to their release,” Biden said.
What is “bias” in AI technology? Who decides what is “disinformation?”
We can’t just rush to regulate AI. Most congress critters are probably unfamiliar with this area, but it’s one where thinking before acting is best for the country.