Federal AI Legislation in Focus: What to Watch as Summer Ends, and Congress Returns to Work
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Artificial intelligence (“AI”) continues to be a topic of conversation around the world, including for legislators and policymakers. Here in the US, the Biden Administration recently secured commitments from leading AI developers on principles of safety, security, and trust (see our previous Tech Talk Blog post). As summer fades and Congress returns to work, efforts to introduce new legislation addressing AI are picking up speed.
For example, in the Senate, the REAL Political Advertisements Act (S. 1596) focuses on political ads that employ AI, mandating clear disclaimers to ensure transparency. The Digital Platform Commission Act (S. 1671), a revamped version of a prior bill, proposes a regulatory body overseeing digital platforms, particularly emphasizing platforms influenced by AI. Meanwhile, the Oversee Emerging Technology Act (S. 1577) seeks to place senior officials in key federal agencies to guide and advise on the utilization of burgeoning tech, prominently AI. Additionally, the ASSESS AI Act (S. 1356) aims at establishing an AI Task Force at the cabinet level, designed to bridge the policy gaps in the government’s current handling of AI. Most recently, the CREATE AI Act (S. 2714) aims to establish the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource to offer users access to AI development capacities and datasets while the AI Labeling Act of 2023 (S. 2691) seeks to mandate clear disclosures for all AI-generated content.
In the House of Representatives, the National AI Commission Act (H.R. 4223) proposes the creation of an independent and bipartisan commission to review and regulate AI. The AI Accountability Act (H.R. 3369) mandates a sweeping study on AI’s accountability, emphasizing its integration in communication networks and addressing the nation’s digital divide.
If you took a break to enjoy the end of summer and were not following these developments, we have you covered. Below, we summarize a few of the relevant AI legislative proposals we are tracking.
1. REAL Political Advertisements Act of 2023
REAL Political Advertisements Act of 2023 (S.1596): Introduced in the Senate in May 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
- Sponsors: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
- Key Aspects: This Act mandates the inclusion of a disclaimer in political advertisements that utilize AI to generate images or video content and seeks to increase transparency and accountability in political campaigns and advertisements that make use of AI. The Act expands on the existing Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by incorporating provisions related to the use of AI in political ads.
2. Digital Platform Commission Act of 2023
Digital Platform Commission Act of 2023 (S.1671): Introduced in the Senate in May 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- Sponsors: Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Peter Welch (D-VT).
- Key Aspects: The Act seeks to establish a "Federal Digital Platform Commission." This Commission would provide comprehensive regulation of digital platforms and AI products, with the intention of protecting consumers, promoting competition, and safeguarding public interest. The Act expands the definition of a digital platform to include online services that offer "content primarily generated by algorithmic processes." The proposed five-member Commission would have the power to hold hearings, conduct investigations, levy fines, and engage in public rulemaking to establish regulations for digital platforms. The Act also proposes the creation of a Code Council and a structure for enhanced oversight and regulation of "systemically important digital platforms." The proposal is a revised version of a previous bill introduced in May 2022 also by Sen. Bennet and includes more direct oversight of AI products and a broader definition of digital platforms.
3. Oversee Emerging Technology Act of 2023
Oversee Emerging Technology Act of 2023 (S.1577): Introduced in the Senate in May 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- Sponsor: Michael Bennet (D-CO).
- Key Aspects: The Act mandates that certain federal agencies appoint a senior official as an emerging technology lead to advise on the responsible use of emerging technologies, including AI. These officials would offer expertise on policies and practices, collaborate with interagency coordinating bodies and contribute input for procurement policies. Specifically, the Act would apply to a group of 24 agencies, as detailed in 31 U.S.C. 901 in addition to certain elements of the intelligence community as outlined in 50 U.S.C. 3003.
4. ASSESS AI Act of 2023
ASSESS AI Act of 2023 /Assuring Safe, Secure, Ethical, and Stable Systems for AI Act (S.1356): Introduced in the Senate in April 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- Sponsor: Michael Bennet (D-CO).
- Key Aspects: The Act aims to establish a cabinet-level AI Task Force to identify existing policy and legal gaps in the federal government's AI policies and uses, and to propose specific recommendations to align these policies with democratic values. The Task Force's key responsibilities would include:
- Assessing current policy, regulatory, and legal gaps in the federal government's use of AI; holding hearings and collecting data.
- Recommending specific legislative and regulatory reforms, including policies to protect privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.
- Setting federal standards for facial recognition and biometric identification.
- Determining requirements for AI audits and risk assessments.
- Establishing policies for responsible AI procurement.
5. CREATE AI Act of 2023
CREATE AI Act of 2023 / Creating Resources for Every American to Experiment with Artificial Intelligence Act (S. 2714): Introduced in the Senate in July 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- Sponsors: Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Todd Young (R-IN), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) and Mike Rounds (R-SD).
- Key Aspects: The Act authorizes the construction of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (“NAIRR”) to provide eligible users with access to datasets, computing resources and educational tools for the development of AI workflows. The NAIRR is also envisioned to act as a testbed for the formulation and application of trustworthy AI practices. The National Science Foundation’s Director, in alignment with the NAIRR Steering Subcommittee, is tasked with the establishment of the NAIRR. A Program Management Office would be set up within the NSF to oversee NAIRR's regular operations. The establishment of the NAIRR was recommended by the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, which was authorized under Section 5106 of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020.
6. AI Labeling Act of 2023
AI Labeling Act of 2023 (S. 2691): Introduced in the Senate in July 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
- Sponsors: Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Kennedy (R-LA).
- Key Aspects: The Act mandates clear disclosures for all AI-generated content including images, videos, audio, multimedia, and text to ensure that such content is distinctly identified as produced by AI. Additionally, the act outlines obligations for developers and licensees of generative AI systems to prevent the removal of these disclosures. Violations of these stipulations would be considered as unfair or deceptive practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act. To support the bill’s objective, a working group would be formed. Comprising experts from various sectors, this group would aid platforms in detecting AI-generated content and establish a framework for AI content detection technology.
7. National AI Commission Act
National AI Commission Act (H.R.4223): Introduced in the House in June 2023 and subsequently referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
- Sponsors: Ted Lieu (D-CA-36), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-16), Robert J. Wittman (R-VA-1), Zachary Nunn (R-IA-3), Christopher R. Deluzio (D-PA-17), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-8) and Abigail Davis Spanberger (D-VA-7).
- Key Aspects: The Act seeks to create, within the legislative branch, an independent commission focused on AI called the “National AI Commission,” which would be bipartisan with 20 members, half from each party, and would have two co-chairs representing each political side. Commissioners would be appointed by a mix of presidential selections and leadership from both the House and Senate and would be required to have expertise in areas ranging from computer science and AI to civil liberties and national security. The Commission’s primary tasks involve reviewing the federal approach to AI, suggesting potential governmental structures for AI oversight, and formulating a risk-based regulatory framework.
8. AI Accountability Act
AI Accountability Act (H.R.3369): Introduced in the House in May 2023 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
- Sponsors: Josh Harder (D-CA-9) and Robin L. Kelly (D-IL-2).
- Key Aspects: The Act directs the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information to conduct a comprehensive study on accountability measures for AI systems. Key areas of focus for the study would include:
- Accountability Measures: Examination of how accountability measures are currently being integrated into AI systems utilized by communication networks, including telecommunications networks and social media platforms, and electromagnetic spectrum sharing applications.
- Digital Divide: Exploration of how accountability measures can facilitate the closure of the digital divide and promote digital inclusion in the United States.
- Risk Reduction: Analysis of how measures can mitigate risks related to AI systems, including cybersecurity risks.
- Effectiveness: Evaluation of the effectiveness of the most frequently used accountability measures for AI systems.
- Barriers and Challenges: Identification of barriers and challenges related to the development of adequate accountability measures for AI systems.
As Congress, the American public, and the technology industry navigate the complexities of AI, these bills underscore America’s pursuit of harmonizing innovation with oversight. We will continue to monitor this space and share updates, including with respect to state-level AI legislation.