Congress establishes working group on AI legislation

House leaders announced that they are forming a bipartisan working group on artificial intelligence legislation.

Congressional efforts to pass legislation related to artificial intelligence have yet to produce tangible results, despite numerous high-level forums and legislative proposals this year.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the task force will be charged with producing a comprehensive report and considering “defense mechanisms that may be appropriate to protect the country from existing and emerging threats.”

The issue gained national attention after robocalls were recorded in January mimicking President Joe Biden’s voice and trying to dissuade people from voting for him in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary.

The Federal Communications Commission ruled this month that calls with voices generated by artificial intelligence are illegal.

The working group’s report will include “guiding principles, forward-looking recommendations, and bipartisan policy proposals developed in consultation with committees” in Congress.

Jeffries stated that “the development of artificial intelligence … presents a unique set of challenges, and barriers must be placed in the way of its development to protect the American people.”

In October, President Biden signed an executive order aimed at reducing the risks associated with artificial intelligence. In January, the Commerce Department said it proposed requiring U.S. cloud service companies to determine whether foreign entities access U.S. data centers to train AI models.

Republican Congressman Jay Obernolt, who chairs the 24-member working group, said the report will detail “the regulatory standards and congressional actions necessary to protect consumers and incentivize continued investment and innovation in AI.”

The group’s Democratic co-chair, Ted Lieu, emphasized: the question is how to make AI benefit society, not harm it.

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