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08.05.20

Congressional activity on artificial intelligence is heating up

BY , , Vincent C. Capati

Even in the pandemic, Congress has focused some attention to AI bills for investing, regulating, and implementing AI technology. Just in the last two weeks, the Senate took action on the FUTURE of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2020 (defining “general” and “narrow” AI and laying the ground work for a skilled workforce) and Advancing Artificial Intelligence Research Act of 2020 (establishing research institutes for studying AI in the long term). Here are six bills currently introduced in the House and/or Senate that would influence, if passed, America’s innovation and leadership in, and adoption of, AI.

FUTURE of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2020

S.3771 proposes the establishment of a “Federal Advisory Committee on the Development and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence” to advise the Secretary of Commerce on “general” and “narrow” AI, and specifically, investment and innovation in AI, including on developing a skilled workforce, sharing research, and adopting AI in government. “General AI” means “a notional future artificial intelligence system that exhibits apparently intelligent behavior at least as advanced as a person across the range of cognitive, emotional, and social behaviors,” and “narrow AI” means “an artificial intelligence system that addresses specific application areas such as playing strategic games, language translation, self-driving vehicles, and facial or other image recognition.”

The bill also proposes establishing a subcommittee on AI for law enforcement to advise the Secretary on biases, security, adoptability, and legal standards.

This bill was ordered to be reported with an amendment favorably by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 22, 2020.

Advancing Artificial Intelligence Research Act of 2020

S.3891 proposes that the National Institute of Standards and Technology develops technical standards for AI, and proposes the establishment of a “National Program to Advance Artificial Intelligence Research” for researching, developing, and deploying AI.

The bill also proposes the establishment of at least six “National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes” for researching “longer-time-horizon challenges” in AI. These Research Institutes are to be established through an award of grants at an institute of higher education, a nonprofit research center, or any other entity the Director of the National Science Foundation deems appropriate. The bill further proposes further grants and other awards for AI-related research.

This bill was ordered to be reported with an amendment favorably by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 22, 2020.

National AI Research Resource Task Force Act of 2020

H.R.7096 and S.3890 proposes the establishment of a joint task force (between government, higher education, and private industry) to investigate the viability of a national artificial intelligence research resource and to anticipate how that resource would be established, deployed, and governed.

H.R.7096 was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on June 4, 2020. S.3890 was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on June 4, 2020.

AI in Government Act of 2019

H.R.2575 and S.1363 proposes the establishment of an “AI Center of Excellence” office to advise and promote government adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence.

H.R.2575 was subject to committee consideration and mark-up session by the Committee on Oversight and Reform on December 12, 2019. S.1363 was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar (Calendar No. 456) under General Orders on June 1, 2020.

National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020

H.R.6216 and S.1558 proposes the establishment of a “National Artificial Intelligence Initiative” to ensure continued United States leadership in AI by supporting research and development, including by developing standards, educating a skilled workforce, and encouraging interdisciplinary learning.

The bills also propose the establishment of 1) a “National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office” serving as a point of contact within the government and with public stakeholders; 2) an interagency committee coordinating federal initiatives, including prioritizing areas of AI research, transferring technology to higher education and industry, and measuring the contribution of AI to economic growth; and 3) a “National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee” comprising academic, industry, social, and federal stakeholders for advising the president on the United States’ leadership, the Initiative’s performance, and opportunities for international cooperation.

The bills further propose studies on the effect of AI on the workforce, framework for developing standards for “trustworthy artificial intelligence systems,” data sharing, and funds for research and education, increasing from $860 million in 2021 to $1.05 billion in 2025.

H.R.6216 was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on March 12, 2020. S.1558 was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on May 21, 2019.

Industries of the Future Act of 2020

H.R.6145 and S.3191 propose that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) assess federal investments in “industries of the future” and to double baseline investments in AI and quantum information science by 2022, then to $10 billion by 2025. The bills also propose the establishment of an “Industries of the Future Coordination Council” to advise the OSTP on how the United States could continue to lead the world in developing technologies.

H.R.6145 was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on March 9, 2020. S.3191 was ordered to be reported with an amendment favorably by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on March 11, 2020.


Nixon Peabody will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide practical considerations as these bills are debated or passed into law.

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Daniel J. Schwartz

Partner

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Erik J. Birkeneder

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Vincent C. Capati

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