Senators Seek Legislative Solutions To AI Problems

Artificial intelligence has been a focal point of many lawmakers, industry executives and advocacy organizations who are all worried about the potential downfalls of the emerging technologies.

Now, U.S. Senators are looking to focus heavily on the risks that AI brings as the 2024 election cycle looms in the near future. This isn’t a partisan issue, either, as members of both political parties understand the inherent risks that AI brings.

Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana said earlier this week that all lawmakers agree that Congress has to do something regarding AI, even though the elections are approaching.

Young is currently working alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to develop a new law revolved around AI. While speaking at the recent Fortune CEO Initiative that was held in Washington recently, Young said that a major concern for all lawmakers is the elections next year.
As he said:

“As I speak to most members of the United States Senate, they embrace the idea that there are some fairly obvious, rifle-shot legislative initiatives that we’re just going to have to tackle regardless of what sort of political dynamics might intervene as we head into next year. I think one of those is clearly elections.”

There are some fears that surround AI tools that Young said won’t require completely new laws, as there are existing laws that can just be applied to it. Some other lawmakers in Washington don’t agree, though.

Schumer said that he was hoping to work on a comprehensive bill regarding AI, and he’s started to talk about the subject with his Republican counterparts in the House as he’s working on crafting the potential legislative package.

Despite the efforts by Young and Schumer, though, some lawmakers say they aren’t optimistic that new legislation would pass through Congress in the near future.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, for instance, said at the Fortune event:

“I don’t think we will do holistic AI regulation short-term.”

He did, however, say that two areas where guardrails need to be put into place for AI are public markets and elections, as they are the ones most likely to be disrupted by the AI tools that are coming online.

The Senate Rules Committee would be the panel that would most likely do the work crafting AI legislation around elections. The panel is already studying the potential effects that AI technology could have on elections.

In fact, the panel held a recent hearing that reviewed the potential impacts AI could have on elections. At that hearing, Schumer said that he believed Congress has to prevent AI from completely upending U.S. elections.

At the hearing, he said:

“If we don’t act, we could soon live in a world where political campaigns regularly deploy totally fabricated but also totally believable images and footage of Democratic or Republican candidates, distorting their statements and greatly harming their election chances. And what then is to stop foreign adversaries from taking advantage of this technology to interfere with our elections?”