Senator Schumer to propose framework for AI legislation in coming weeks

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the media
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday he would provide a framework for addressing the risks and potential benefits of artificial intelligence in the coming weeks, which will then be translated into piecemeal legislation.

The Biden administration and lawmakers, concerned about how AI could impact elections or influence Americans, have been pressing for AI regulation, but a polarized U.S. Congress has made little headway. Europe is ahead, with lawmakers there drafting AI rules.

The roadmap, Schumer said, would be based on expert input and broach thorny issues arising from artificial intelligence, from its impact on intellectual property and labor rights to healthcare and "doomsday scenarios."

"In this roadmap, which will come out within a few weeks, you will see there are a lot of good guidelines and ideas of how Congress should proceed,” he said, during an interview at an AI summit in Washington. "But you will see different committees taking a role and translating that, concretizing that, into legislation," he added.

U.S. officials have warned that AI can heighten the risk of bias and facilitate election interference via deep fakes. They also fear that powerful AI models in the hands of bad actors could be used to help make bioweapons or launch muscular cyber attacks, with particular concerns surrounding China.

“If we do nothing, China with a whole different system – their AI is interested in things like facial recognition and surveillance and stuff like that – they could get ahead of us,” Schumer added, while also highlighting the potential for AI to negatively impact elections.

Schumer said lawmakers would take a piecemeal approach to the issues. "Some committees are a little further along than others. We're not going to wait to have one huge comprehensive plan that touches on everything," he said.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci)