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Exclusive: BSA The Software Alliance's 2024 plans

Feb 5, 2024
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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

After a year of learning about artificial intelligence on Capitol Hill, a global software industry group is telling lawmakers to take action.

Driving the news: BSA The Software Alliance, which represents giants including Microsoft and IBM, is calling on Congress to pass laws related to bias and discrimination risks of AI, according to its 2024 agenda shared exclusively with Axios.

  • BSA staff in recent weeks have been meeting with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the path forward for AI and privacy.

Details: BSA wants lawmakers to write legislation that requires impact assessments of high-risk AI use. Other items on the to-do list:

  • Finally pass a strong federal privacy law.
  • Secure critical infrastructure, consumer and company systems against cyberthreats.
  • To enable U.S. companies to thrive abroad, enforce digital trade agreements that foster cross-border data flows.
  • Improve access to STEM for historically marginalized groups.

What they're saying: The group notes it will be a year of "digital transformation" as the adoption of AI modernizes agriculture, updates government IT, advances manufacturing and makes health care more accessible.

  • "BSA is urging policymakers to make this a year of action to support the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence," BSA's U.S. government relations vice president Craig Albright said in a statement.
  • "We will continue to work with lawmakers and be a loud voice calling for meaningful legislation."

Our thought bubble: BSA from the jump has focused its Hill efforts on the intersection of AI and privacy, providing granular input on the AI provisions of E&C's American Data Privacy and Protection Act.

  • It's a strategy that recognizes the inextricable nature of the two tech issues and could help transcend Senate and House disagreements on what should be prioritized.

Yes, but: As much as BSA wishes for action this year, it's a long shot given the elections and government funding fights sucking all the air out of the room.

Meanwhile, BSA is also steadily applying pressure in the EU, where it has a permanent office and U.S. staff recently traveled.

  • AI is the foremost issue there as EU AI Act implementation gets underway.
  • GDPR updates and the EU-U.S. data privacy framework were also on the agenda in recent meetings with officials.
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