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Lawmakers seek ‘blue-ribbon commission’ to study impacts of AI tools

The wheels of government have finally begun to turn on the issue of generative AI regulation. US Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced legislation on Monday that would establish a 20-person commission to study ways to “mitigate the risks and possible harms” of AI while “protecting” America’s position as a global technology power. 

The bill would require the Executive branch to appoint experts from throughout government, academia and industry to conduct the study over the course of two years, producing three reports during that period. The president would appoint eight members of the committee, while Congress, in an effort “to ensure bipartisanship,” would split the remaining 12 positions evenly between the two parties (thereby ensuring the entire process devolves into a partisan circus).

“[Generative AI] can be disruptive to society, from the arts to medicine to architecture to so many different fields, and it could also potentially harm us and that’s why I think we need to take a somewhat different approach,” Lieu told the Washington Post. He views the commission as a way to give lawmakers — the same folks routinely befuddled by TikTok — a bit of “breathing room” in understanding how the cutting-edge technology functions.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) plans to introduce the bill’s upper house counterpart, Lieu’s team told WaPo, though no timeline for that happening was provided. Lieu also noted that Congress as a whole would do well to avoid trying to pass major legislation on the subject until the commission has had its time. “I just think we need some experts to inform us and just have a little bit of time pass before we put something massive into law,” Lieu said.

Of course, that would then push the passage any sort of meaningful Congressional regulation on generative AI out to 2027, at the very earliest, rather than right now, when we actually need it. Given how rapidly both the technology and the use cases for it have evolved in just the last six months, this study will have its work cut out just keeping pace with the changes, much less convincing the octogenarians running our nation of the potential dangers AI poses to our democracy.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lawmakers-seek-blue-ribbon-commission-to-study-impacts-of-ai-tools-152550502.html?src=rss

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