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Elections and privacy featured in next AI forums

Nov 7, 2023

Schumer last week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senators will zero in on elections and privacy at Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's next AI insight forums Wednesday.

What's happening: The first forum, scheduled from 10:30am to 12:30pm ET, will focus on democracy and elections.

  • The second, from 2:30 to 4:30pm ET, will tackle privacy and liability.

Why it matters: Advances in generative AI are injecting new urgency to the conversation as the 2024 elections near.

  • Meanwhile, Americans continue to lack the protection of a federal privacy law as data-hungry AI models make people's personal information even more lucrative.

A variety of stakeholders from academia, companies and advocacy organizations will convene to address the two issues.

  • For example, Adobe's Andy Parsons, Brookings Institution's Jessica Brandt and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Melanie Campbell will participate in the elections forum.
  • That meeting will also feature state officials, including Michigan State Secretary Jocelyn Benson and Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson.
  • The privacy forum attendees will include Public Knowledge's Chris Lewis, Venable's Stuart Ingis and AI for the People's Mutale Nkonde.

What they're saying: "Common Sense will convey to the senators that there are a number of ways in which generative AI poses special risks for kids and teens, including in educational settings, whether they are learning in school, at home, or through remote proctoring," Common Sense communications advisor Lisa Cohen said.

  • Common Sense advisor Tracy Pizzo Frey will participate in the forum.
  • Cato policy research fellow Jennifer Huddleston, who will participate in the election forum, said in an email that she will focus on the benefits of AI and light-touch regulation: "Rather than presuming a need for regulation, it is this light touch that allows innovation to flourish and addresses specific challenges or harms."

Zoom in: Common Sense this year launched an AI initiative that dives into what the technology means for young people and offers an AI product review.

  • The group describes the forthcoming review service as a "nutritional" label that states a product's opportunities and limitations clearly.

Of note: Schumer has committed to protecting kids online, though sending any bill to the president seems unlikely because disagreements with the House have not been resolved.

  • The Senate leader also has said an election-related law could be a more near-term priority for Congress.
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