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State Lawmakers Forge Ahead with AI Regulation, Balancing Innovation and Protection

AI/MLState Lawmakers Forge Ahead with AI Regulation, Balancing Innovation and Protection

State lawmakers are swiftly addressing the dynamic landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, often starting with regulating their own state governments before extending restrictions to private industries.

Their focus is on safeguarding citizens from discrimination and other harms without stifling advancements in fields like medicine, science, business, and education.

Connecticut State Senator James Maroney, a leading voice on AI matters, emphasized that their initial efforts are aimed at government systems, with plans to inventory AI use and ensure no unlawful discrimination by the end of 2023.

Maroney intends to collaborate with lawmakers from Colorado, New York, Virginia, Minnesota, and other states to draft model AI legislation for private industries. This legislation would encompass broad guidelines, addressing issues such as product liability and mandatory impact assessments.

Around 25 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia introduced AI bills this year. Fourteen states and Puerto Rico have already adopted resolutions or enacted laws, with a separate focus on specific AI technologies like facial recognition and autonomous cars.

Various states, including Texas, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico, have established advisory bodies to study AI systems within their state agencies. Others like Louisiana have formed committees to investigate AI’s implications on state operations, procurement, and policy.

Lawmakers are seeking comprehensive insights into AI deployment, prompting the implementation of measures like Connecticut’s law that mandates regular evaluation of AI systems for potential discrimination. This move follows findings by the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, revealing AI’s use in tasks like school assignments and bail decisions.

However, the algorithms’ details often remain undisclosed to the public, prompting concerns. Richard Eppink of the ACLU of Idaho exposed “secret computerized algorithms” misused in assessing individuals with disabilities for healthcare services in the state.

The AI landscape encompasses a range of technologies, from recommendation algorithms to generative AI like ChatGPT. While some states like Hawaii have not yet taken action due to uncertainty, others are pushing for safety measures.

The European Union leads in AI regulation, while discussions on bipartisan AI legislation occur in the U.S. Congress. The speed of state legislatures, as seen with data privacy, drives regulation efforts.

Certain state-level bills target specific AI-related concerns, like Massachusetts limiting AI use by mental health providers and New York restricting AI in employment decisions.

North Dakota clarified the definition of a person to exclude AI, acknowledging the need for guidelines. Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill banning AI in voting machines, and Washington Senator Lisa Wellman plans to introduce legislation mandating computer science education.

In summary, state lawmakers are swiftly tackling AI regulation, prioritizing their own governments initially before moving to private sectors, with the aim of balancing innovation and citizen protection.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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