Artificial Intelligence: Executive and congressional developments in review

By , Vincent C. Capati

Building on momentum continuing from the United States 116th Congress's lawmaking, the 45th president's administration's policy making, and the current administration's proposed Bill of RightsArtificial Intelligence (hand-in-hand with Privacy and Cybersecurity) continues to be a central focus for American leaders. Below are noteworthy proposals, bills, and law that shape America's innovation and leadership in, and adoption of, artificial intelligence.

Developing artificial intelligence

United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S.1260)

Passed by the Senate, the bill aims to "ensure that the United States leads in the innovation of critical and emerging technologies, such as next-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors, and biotechnology" including by 1) investing and incentivizing the private sector, 2) modernizing expert controls, 3) taking the lead in technical standard-setting bodies, and 4) facilitating collaboration with allies in critical technologies, among others. § 3004(b)(10).

This bill also includes the Advancing American AI Act, which seeks to "encourage agency artificial intelligence-related programs and initiatives that enhance the competitiveness of the United States and foster an approach to artificial intelligence that builds on the strengths of the United States in innovation and entrepreneurialism" and "enhance the ability of the [f]ederal [g]overnment to translate research advances into artificial intelligence applications to modernize systems and assist agency leaders in fulfilling their missions." § 4202.

National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R.2225)

Passed by the House, the bill reauthorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) and authorizes additional programs and activities at the NSF. In addition to issuing scholarships and grants to individuals, institutions, and organizations for developing expertise in and broadening the applications of artificial intelligence, the bill directs the NSF to study which universities are publishing "significant peer-reviewed artificial intelligence research," what "specific factors" enable such research, including computing power and industry partnerships, and what potential "pilot programs the [f]ederal [g]overnment could develop or support to help universities produce AI research." § 7(v).

Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2021 (H.R.4521)

Passed by the House, the bill directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to implement a National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative to "advance societal well-being, national security, sustainability, and economic productivity and competitiveness. Among other activities, the initiative must include sustained support for research centers, individual investigators, technologies, and training." The Initiative must include "sustained support" for the "development of computational tools, including artificial intelligence tools, that can accelerate research and innovation." § 4(b)(2).

Department of Energy Science for the Future Act (H.R.3593)

Passed by the House, the bill supports specified research and development activities of the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Specifically relating to artificial intelligence, the bill directs i) chemistry related research to leverage artificial intelligence (§ 3(a)); ii) develop "engineered ecosystems" with artificial intelligence (§ 4(e)); and iii) maintain foundational research programs focusing on, among others, artificial intelligence and scientific machine learning, including their architecture and efficiency. § 5(a).

Artificial Intelligence in the government

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (S.1605) / (H.R.4350)

Becoming law in December 2021, it features the Artificial Intelligence Capabilities and Transparency (AICT) Act and the Artificial Intelligence for the Military (AIM) Act. "The AICT Act will increase the federal government's AI capabilities by improving talent recruitment and enabling agencies to adopt new AI technology more quickly while providing increased transparency and accountability for the government's AI systems." The AIM Act "requires training on AI topics and their national security implications for senior military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon."

Artificial Intelligence Training for the Acquisition Workforce Act or the AI Training Act (S.2551)

Passed by the Senate, the bill "requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish or otherwise provide an artificial intelligence (AI) training program for the acquisition workforce of executive agencies. . . . The purpose of the program is to ensure that the workforce has knowledge of the capabilities and risks associated with AI." Artificial intelligence training relates to at least the following topics:

  • the science underlying AI, including how AI works;
  • introductory concepts relating to the technological features of artificial intelligence systems;
  • the ways in which AI can benefit the federal government;
  • the risks posed by AI, including discrimination and risks to privacy;
  • ways to mitigate the risks described in subparagraph (D), including efforts to create and identify AI that is reliable, safe, and trustworthy; and
  • future trends in AI, including trends for homeland and national security and innovation.

Consumer Safety Technology Act (H.R.3723)

Passed by the House, the bill, inter alia, directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to use artificial intelligence in a pilot program for a least one of the following purposes:

  • tracking trends with respect to injuries involving consumer products
  • identifying consumer product hazards
  • monitoring the retail marketplace (including internet websites) for the sale of recalled consumer products (including both new and used products)
  • identifying consumer products required by section 17(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2066(a)) to be refused admission into the customs territory of the United States

The Commission must then report on "whether and the extent to which the use of artificial intelligence improved the ability of the Commission to advance the consumer product safety." § 102.

Financial Transparency Act of 2021 (H.R.2989)

Passed by the House, the bill seeks to "amend securities and banking laws to make the information reported to financial regulatory agencies electronically searchable, to further enable the development of RegTech and Artificial Intelligence applications, to put the United States on a path toward building a comprehensive Standard Business Reporting program to ultimately harmonize and reduce the private sector's regulatory compliance burden, while enhancing transparency and accountability, and for other purpose."

Nixon Peabody will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide practical considerations to, inter alia, private industry, universities and research organizations, and government contractors as these bills are debated or passed into law.

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Daniel J. Schwartz


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Vincent C. Capati


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