2 Senators Propose Bipartisan Framework for A.I. Laws

The effort by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Josh Hawley is the latest move by lawmakers to catch up with the rapidly evolving technology.
2 Senators Propose Bipartisan Framework for A.I. Laws

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, and Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, plan to announce a sweeping framework to regulate artificial intelligence, in the latest effort by Congress to catch up with the technology.

The leaders of the Senate judiciary’s subcommittee for privacy, technology and law said in interviews on Thursday that their framework will include requirements for the licensing and auditing of A.I., the creation of an independent federal office to oversee the technology, liability for companies for privacy and civil rights violations, and requirements for data transparency and safety standards.

The lawmakers plan to highlight their proposals in an A.I. hearing on Tuesday, which will feature Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, and William Dally, the chief scientist for the A.I. chip maker Nvidia. Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Hawley plan to introduce bills from the framework.

On Wednesday, top tech executives including Elon Musk, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and OpenAI’s Sam Altman will meet with the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, and other lawmakers in a separate closed-door meeting on A.I. regulations.

Since the release of the ChatGPT chatbot in November, lawmakers in Washington have raced to educate themselves on A.I.’s risks and opportunities to create rules for the industry. Mr. Blumenthal said lawmakers did not want to repeat the mistakes they made in failing to agree on privacy, safety and security laws for social media companies.

“We are really moving very forcefully and promptly toward legislation,” said Mr. Blumenthal, chair of the subcommittee. “Our goal is not only to educate and inform the public but to reach very specific and definite results.”

Many A.I. leaders have called for regulations and warned about the risks of their technologies to spread disinformation, kill jobs and disrupt elections. Mr. Altman has demonstrated ChatGPT to more than 100 members of Congress and met with many lawmakers privately to discuss regulations. Dario Amodei, the chief executive of the A.I. start-up Anthropic, testified in Congress in July about A.I.’s potential to create bioweapons.

The lawmakers drew the proposals from two hearings held this year with A.I. experts, including Mr. Altman. In one of the hearings, Mr. Altman said he supported the idea of an independent agency to oversee A.I., licensing requirements and safety standards.

But the framework is set to receive pushback from the tech industry. IBM and Google have argued against the creation of a new oversight office for the technology.

Wednesday’s meeting on A.I. regulations led by Mr. Schumer will count Mr. Musk, Mr. Nadella, Mr. Altman, Sundar Pichai of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Meta among the attendees, as well as leaders of labor unions and civil society groups. It is Mr. Schumer’s first “A.I. Insight Forum,” part of a series of listening sessions for lawmakers to learn about the technology.

That effort may take many months. Mr. Hawley said he worried that tech executives have had too much weight in private conversations led by Mr. Schumer. “I’m just disappointed that this isn’t happening in public, and it’s not a real hearing,” he said about Mr. Schumer’s meeting.

The White House has also met with the chiefs of Microsoft, Google, OpenAI and other firms and has announced that the companies agreed to voluntary safety standards.