fb tracking

Senate AI Roadmap Identifies Critical Threats. Now, Congress Must Act.

“The choice between innovation and regulation is a false dichotomy,” said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Todd Young (R-IN), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) unveiled a new whitepaper outlining a bipartisan set of recommendations for the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement in response:

“The Senate roadmap does a good job of highlighting key issues around AI, but with few exceptions does not propose or endorse specific solutions and legislation. 

“Now the test is: Will Congress act to impose restraints on AI corporations to prevent them from inflicting serious damage on the nation and the world?

“The first, hopeful opportunity is political deepfakes, with the Senate Rules Committee poised to approve bipartisan legislation today to protect our democracy from deepfake fraud and chaos. This must not be a theatrical vote, but the first step in quickly getting legislation to President Biden’s desk.

“Political deepfakes are just the tip of the iceberg. AI harms are pervasive – and fast worsening. These include racially biased algorithms making discriminatory health care, housing and criminal justice decisions; nonconsensual, intimate deepfakes disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of girls; worsening fraud, especially against seniors; privacy incursions and appropriation of creators’ work; intensifying electricity demand; corporate concentration; reckless moves toward deployment of autonomous weapons and more, much more.

“If Congress does not address these issues urgently, AI corporate power will grow stronger and the chances of realizing the great promise of AI and directing it to serve the broad public interest — rather than AI serving to concentrate wealth at the expense of the public — will rapidly diminish.

“Understandably, the Senate roadmap focuses on “promoting innovation.” It’s important to note that the roadmap correctly understands efforts to develop privacy protections, eliminate racial bias, promote safety and more as pro-innovation. The choice between innovation and regulation is a false dichotomy. Regulation fosters smarter, safer and more sustainable innovation. The choice is not innovation or no innovation, but what kind of innovation and, most pointedly, innovation for whom.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact eleach@citizen.org