Top GOP senator teams up with key Democrat on ‘light-touch’ AI bill

Schumer spokeswoman Allison Biasotti said the majority leader “does not view AI reforms as a partisan issue and believes that the only way to fully harness its potential for good and limit its risks is through bipartisan action.”

Schumer has spent months examining the possibility of new rules on AI, although it remains unclear how the majority leader plans to legislate. Last week, Schumer launched the first in a series of “AI Insight Forums,” in which technology leaders spoke with lawmakers behind closed doors. But some senators are growing impatient with the length of the hearing process — and on Wednesday, Klobuchar said Congress “simply can’t wait” to set guidelines for the AI ​​systems used to establish ratings. credit and make an impact on people’s lives.

“It’s really important that we have standards in place, and I appreciate Sen. Thune’s leadership on this,” Klobuchar told POLITICO. The Democratic senator is already the main sponsor of a bill this would prevent misleading AI-generated content from impacting elections.

Although it has not yet been formally introduced, Thune’s bill has already amassed powerful supporters. Ryan Hagemann, head of AI policy at IBM, called it “the most comprehensive piece of legislation in existence today.” Hagemann told POLITICO that the bill “strikes a very moderate balance” between a hands-off approach to AI and early efforts to suppress the technology through licensing regimes or other restrictions.

In conversations with POLITICO this week, Thune repeatedly emphasized that his bill would take a “light touch” approach to AI governance. While the Commerce Department would be responsible for enforcing the legislation, companies developing or deploying AI systems would ultimately be responsible for assessing their impact and certifying their security.

“What we’re trying to do is mitigate the riskier applications of AI,” Thune told POLITICO on Wednesday. “There are mechanisms, in addition to self-certification, that I think create safeguards – but without the heavy regulation that we think could be harmful. »

Thune and Klobuchar said their AI bill will likely attract a few more co-sponsors in the Senate before it’s formally introduced, which they expect this week or next.


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