Apr 22, 2024 - Politics

Colorado lawmakers target AI, social media and online data

Illustration of a gavel cracking 0’s and 1’s binary

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The potential harms from artificial intelligence and social media are a top focus this year at the state Capitol, where lawmakers are intent on adding guardrails to enhance data privacy.

Why it matters: The half dozen new laws advancing through the Legislature represent a concerted crackdown on technology — one that is drawing blowback from the industry.

State of play: The most substantial measure to establish standards for AI systems just debuted with less than a month left in the lawmaking term and is scheduled for its first hearing Wednesday. The legislation emulates first-ever regulations in the European Union.

  • It would require public disclosure of AI-generated content and mandate new oversight rules for certain "high-risk" AI systems, like those used by law enforcement and schools, to prevent algorithmic discrimination.
  • The attorney general would get enforcement authority.

What they're saying: "There's a common sense that we don't want to get … behind on artificial intelligence," Senate Majority Leader Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver) told reporters in a recent briefing.

  • "Every year I think we delay, it gets more ingrained and it's harder to control and understand."

The big picture: If approved, the legislation would make Colorado a national leader on the issue, advocates say, and it's part of a multistate effort to develop uniform rules on AI in the absence of action at the federal level.

The other side: 48 companies and organizations — represented by 63 lobbyists and firms — are closely watching the bill, with the vast majority in opposition or asking for changes, records show.

Zoom in: The other legislation on data privacy is less far-reaching and moving more quickly toward the finish line this session. The measures would:

What's next: Lawmakers have through May 8 to finalize the legislation.

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