AI

Schumer seeks to forge a path for AI legislation

The new framework faces criticism from some advocacy groups.
article cover

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

· 3 min read

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.

After months of gauging opinions from a range of concerned parties, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has unveiled a new vision for how Congress should tackle AI policy.

The senator, along with three bipartisan colleagues calling themselves the “AI Gang,” announced a roadmap document that calls for $32 billion in annual funding “as soon as possible” to help cement the country’s status as a leader in harnessing the technology. Critics, however, say the document is light on details about regulations that would guard against AI’s worst tendencies.

What it says: The 30-page document lists dozens of legislative priorities with varying levels of specificity, including funding for innovation projects, protecting elections against deepfakes, and addressing AI job displacement.

The recommendations are meant to serve as a guide for individual committees to begin to draft legislation, according to Schumer’s remarks around the announcement.

Why it matters: The new roadmap comes as governments around the world have been considering ways to rein in the ill effects of generative AI while also competing in a geopolitical arms race around the tech.

President Biden signed a sweeping executive order around AI last fall, but executive action can only go so far without legislation. Congress has faced increased pressure to put a stake down on the issue, especially since the EU set a new bar with the passage of the AI Act in December.

Reactions to the roadmap: Some advocacy groups criticized the framework for failing to take a stronger stance on regulating AI.

In a statement, Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight For the Future, called the roadmap “pathetic when it comes to substantive issues around discrimination, civil rights, and preventing AI-exacerbated harms.”

Barry Lynn, executive director of antitrust advocacy Open Markets, said in a statement that the document was too favorable to Big Tech.

Evi Fuelle, global policy director at AI governance platform Credo AI, which participated in Schumer’s AI forums ahead of the unveiling, said Congress should recognize that responsible AI is not at odds with innovation.

“There’s a lot of conversation about [the US] winning an AI arms race…But what the focus should be is, ‘What are we winning? What type of society do we want to live in?’ And I think that that requires us to actually act to make sure that the technology is responsible, accountable, transparent,” Fuelle told Tech Brew. “So from Credo AI’s perspective, the report is a great stepping stone. But it’s not in place of AI regulation, which is really what is needed in the United States.”

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.