Senators unveil bipartisan blueprint for comprehensive AI regulation

Senators unveil bipartisan blueprint for comprehensive AI regulation

Two senators unveiled a bipartisan blueprint for artificial intelligence (AI) legislation on Friday, Sep. 8, as Congress intensifies its endeavors to regulate this emerging technology.

The plan put forward by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) advocates for mandatory licensing for AI firms and makes it clear that technology liability protections will not shield these companies from legal actions.

In a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), Blumenthal expressed that this bipartisan framework represents a significant step forward—a robust and comprehensive legislative plan for concrete and enforceable AI safeguards. It is expected to be a guide in managing both the potential benefits and risks associated with AI technology.

Hawley emphasized that the principles outlined in this framework should serve as the foundational basis for Congress to take action regarding AI regulation.

“We’ll continue hearings with industry leaders and experts, as well as other conversations and fact-finding to build a coalition of support for legislation.”

The framework proposes the creation of a licensing system overseen by an independent regulatory body. It mandates that AI model developers register with this oversight entity, which would possess the authority to conduct audits of these licensing applicants.

Image of the AI framework.   Source: X

Additionally, the framework suggests that Congress should make it explicit that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protections to tech firms for third-party content, does not extend to AI applications. Other sections of the framework advocate for corporate transparency, consumer and child protection, as well as national security safeguards.

Blumenthal and Hawley, who lead the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on privacy, technology and law, have also revealed plans for a hearing on Tuesday. This hearing will include testimony from prominent figures such as Brad Smith, Vice Chairman and President of Microsoft; William Dally, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research at NVIDIA; and Woodrow Hartzog, Professor at Boston University School of Law.

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The unveiling of this framework, as well as the accompanying hearing announcement, precedes Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s AI forum. This forum is set to feature leaders from leading AI firms who will provide lawmakers with insights into the potential advantages and risks associated with AI.

Schumer also introduced an AI framework in June. His framework outlined an extensive range of fundamental principles, as opposed to the more detailed measures proposed by Hawley and Blumenthal.

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