The US Senate is inching forward on a plan to regulate artificial intelligence, after months of seeing how ChatGPT and similar tools stand to supercharge — or disrupt— wide swaths of society.
But despite outlining broad contours of the plan, senators are still likely months away from introducing a comprehensive bill setting guardrails for the industry, let alone passing legislation and getting it signed into law. The deliberate pace of progress contrasts with the blistering speed with which companies and organizations have embraced generative AI, and the flood of investment into the industry.
The Senate’s plan calls for briefing lawmakers on the basic facts of artificial intelligence over the summer, before beginning to consider legislation in the following months, even as some senators have begun to pitch proposals.
The efforts reflect how, despite urgent calls by civil society groups and industry for guardrails on the technology, many lawmakers are still getting up to speed.
To help educate members, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday announced a series of three senators-only information sessions to take place in the coming weeks.
The closed-door briefings will cover topics ranging from AI’s current capabilities and competition in AI development to how US national security and defense agencies are already putting the technology to use. The latter session, Schumer said, will be the first-ever classified senators’ briefing on AI.
“The Senate must deepen our expertise in this pressing topic,” Schumer wrote in a letter to colleagues announcing the briefings. “AI is already changing our world, and experts have repeatedly told us that it will have a profound impact on everything from our national security to our classrooms to our workforce, including potentially significant job displacement.”
Schumer had earlier kicked off a high-level push for AI legislation in April, when he proposed shaping any eventual bill