Cantwell, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Bill to Further Understand and Promote Development of Artificial Intelligence, Drive Economic Opportunity

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ed Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives John K. Delaney (D-MD) and Pete Olson (R-TX), introduced first-of-its-kind legislation that would promote an enabling environment for the continued development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The forward-looking bill, known as the Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2017 – or FUTURE of AI Act – establishes a federal advisory committee to examine and wrestle with the economic opportunities and impacts emerging AI technologies will have in many aspects of American life.

AI technologies are evolving in capability and application at a rapid clip. Yet, the United States currently has no federal policy towards AI and no part of the federal government has ownership of the advancement of this technology.

“We expect that artificial intelligence will be an incredibly transformative force for growth and productivity.  We need to be ready for it,” said Senator Cantwell.

“Artificial Intelligence has the ability to drastically boost our economy,” said Senator Young. “As Americans continue to interact with this technology every day, and as its capabilities expand, it’s important that we study and prepare for AI’s continued use in our society.”

“While artificial intelligence holds the promise of providing goods and services more efficiently and effectively, increased automation has potentially broad negative impacts on our workforce and our privacy,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “This bill serves as an important step in bringing together all stakeholders to better understand how this new technology will impact our lives. I thank Senators Cantwell and Young, as well as Representatives Delaney and Olson, for their partnership on this important bipartisan issue.” 

“It’s time to get proactive on artificial intelligence,” said Congressman Delaney, co-chair of the House AI Caucus. “AI is going to reshape our economy the way the steam engine, the transistor or the personal computer did and as a former entrepreneur, I believe the impact will be positive overall. Big disruptions also create new policy needs and we should start working now so that AI is harnessed in a way that society benefits, that businesses benefit and that workers benefit. This bill starts the process, by bringing together experts and policymakers. As co-chairs of the AI Caucus, Rep. Olson and I are shining a spotlight on these issues and this bipartisan bill makes sure that both Congress and the Executive Branch get engaged on this topic. I thank Senator Cantwell, Senator Young and Senator Markey for their leadership in the Senate.”

Rep. Pete Olson said, “Artificial Intelligence has the power to truly transform our society, and as policymakers, we must be forward thinking about its applications. The AI Advisory committee will help ensure that the federal government enables growth and advancement in this exciting field, while empowering Congress to address potential AI issues going forward. I thank my AI Caucus Co-Chair John Delaney and our Senate colleagues for this collaborative effort and look forward to moving this bill forward.”

The FUTURE of AI Act names the Department of Commerce responsible for leading government policy on artificial intelligence and directs the Department to create an advisory committee tasked with submitting recommendations within 18 months on how the government and business can work together to address concerns in four key areas:

  • Potential growth, restructuring, and other changes for the U.S. workforce that result from adoption of AI, including potential actions to train and skill workers for an AI workplace
  • Protecting the privacy rights of individuals as AI continues to grow
  • Promoting a climate of innovation to ensure global competitiveness for American companies developing AI technologies
  • Supporting the development and application of unbiased AI

The AI advisory committee will pull from a wide array of sectors and perspectives. The committee will be comprised of civil liberties groups, labor groups, research institutions and universities, technology companies, the manufacturing sector, data scientists, and federal agency officials, among others.

"This is a very thoughtful and timely bill. Gaining the expertise to make wise and inclusive policy around artificial intelligence is absolutely critical. I applaud Senator Cantwell and her co-sponsors for their leadership,” said Ryan Calo, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Law and the faculty co-director of the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab.

The section-by-section of the bill can be found HERE.

The full text of the bill can be found HERE.