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Bennet updates digital agency bill

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May 18, 2023

Bennett at a hearing on May 12, 2021. Photo: Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Michael Bennet reintroduced his Digital Platform Commission Act Thursday with Sen. Peter Welch as a co-sponsor.

Why it matters: Bennet's idea to establish a new agency to regulate digital platforms gained steam after a Senate hearing Tuesday featuring OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who said he supports regulations and a new agency for AI.

Driving the news: The new version of the bill, first introduced in 2022, more explicitly addresses AI and requires the commission to establish an age-appropriate design code, as seen in the U.K. and in California, along with age verification standards.

  • Bennet discussed the need for such an agency and why he's concerned about the impact of AI on children in a recent interview with Axios.

Details: The new bill text reads: "Digital platforms remain largely unregulated and are left to write their own rules without meaningful democratic input or accountability."

  • The damages, per the bill text, include "the development of increasingly powerful algorithmic processes for communication, research, content generation, and decision making, such as generative artificial intelligence."

What they're saying: "Technology is moving quicker than Congress could ever hope to keep up with," Bennet said in a statement.

  • "We need an expert federal agency that can stand up for the American people and ensure AI tools and digital platforms operate in the public interest.”

💭 Our thought bubble: Bennet's proposal includes ideas that are popular on a bipartisan basis, such as regulating AI and ensuring social media platforms are built in safe ways for children.

  • But propping up a new agency is still likely to be a tough sell to big government-averse Republicans.
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