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AI executive order poised to hit on Hill priorities

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Mar 27, 2024
Data: Axios research, Mintz Law Firm; Timeline: Jacque Schrag/Axios
Data: Axios research, Mintz Law Firm; Timeline: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The Biden administration is headed toward AI executive order milestones that will inform some of the most pressing tech issues on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: Federal AI regulation is mostly moving forward through executive-branch action.

Driving the news: Thursday marks 150 days since President Biden issued his sweeping AI executive order.

What's inside: We've analyzed the upcoming deadlines and broken them down into key issue areas of importance for Hill policymakers: workforce, equity, copyright and research.

Workforce: Lawmakers worry about AI's impact on their constituents' jobs and livelihoods, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal calling that his "biggest nightmare, in the long term."

  • The EO addresses the impact of AI on American workers, how to attract foreign talent and how to boost tech talent within the government.
  • That's done through studies, guidance on best practices and updates to the country's immigration system.

Equity: Concerns over AI exacerbating inequity are top of mind on the Hill.

  • Lawmakers are parsing out how existing civil rights laws can be applied and what gaps need to be filled with new regulation.
  • The EO instructs HUD and CFPB to examine how the Fair Housing Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act apply to the use of AI in real-estate transactions.
  • The EO also calls for creating best practices for recruiting law enforcement professionals with certain technical skills as data privacy concerns mount.

Copyright: Artists and content creators are grappling with their works and likenesses being used without permission, and lawmakers are wading into the debate.

  • USPTO under the executive order has to recommend potential copyright actions to the president.

Research: In the near term, the threat of deepfakes is keeping lawmakers on both sides of the aisle up at night as the 2024 elections kick into full gear.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has singled out deepfakes in elections as a top priority, and several bills have been introduced to prohibit them or require disclosure.
  • The EO instructs the Commerce Department to study how to prevent generative AI from being used to create non-consensual imagery of real individuals and CSAM, another big topic on the Hill.
  • Getting more researchers to help develop AI so it's not controlled by a few big companies is another focus for some lawmakers, and the EO calls for new research institutes to be established by 2025.
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