June 22, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 173

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Congress Proposes National Commission to Create AI Guardrails

The U.S. Congress has introduced a bipartisan bill that would create a National AI Commission (“Commission”). A focus of the Commission will be to ensure that through regulation, the United States is mitigating the risks and possible harms of AI, protecting its leadership in AI innovation and ensuring that the United States takes a leading role in establishing necessary, long-term guardrails. Additionally, it will review the Federal Government’s current approach to artificial intelligence oversight and regulation, how that is distributed across agencies and the capacity and alignment of agencies to address such oversight and regulation.

The Commission will recommend any governmental structures that may be needed to oversee and regulate AI systems, including the feasibility of an oversight structure that can oversee powerful AI systems with a general purpose through a careful, evidence-based approach and build upon previous Federal efforts and international best practices and efforts to develop a binding risk-based approach to regulate and oversee AI applications through identifying applications with unacceptable risks, high or limited risks, and minimal risks.

The Commission will be required to generate an interim and a final report and a follow up report. The interim report will address proposals for any urgent regulatory or enforcement actions. The final report will address the Commission’s findings and recommendations for a comprehensive, binding regulatory framework.

The bill includes provisions designed to make the Commission balanced, qualified and empowered. The Commission will be balance by having 20 commissioners, appointed for the life of the Commission, of whom 10 will be appointed 10 by each party. The Commission will be qualified by requiring Members to have a background in at least one of the following: Computer science or a technical background in artificial intelligence; Civil society, including relating to the Constitution, civil liberties, ethics, and the creative community; Industry and workforce; Government, including national security. The Commission will be empowered in that all Federal departments, agencies, commissions, offices, and other entities will be required to provide information, suggestions, estimates, statistics, and other materials to the Commission upon request.

This bill comes on the heels of the EU Parliament approving amendments to the European Union Artificial Intelligence Act (”AIA”) on June 14, 2023 ahead of discussions with EU member states on the final details of the law. The AIA sets forth a uniform legal framework to promote human centric and trustworthy artificial intelligence and to ensure protection of health, safety, fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law and the environment from harmful effects of AI systems in the EU.

It is likely the pace of regulatory action around the world will increase as more governments realize that AI is here to stay and that it is evolving at a blistering pace. While AI has many beneficial uses, harmful uses exist. Hopefully, these regulatory actions will be thoughtful, promote the benefits of AI and protect society from the potential harm. While it is a positive that major governments are focusing on regulation, what would be better is an international effort to harmonize AI laws.

Copyright © 2023, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 173
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About this Author

James Mattinson Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency Lawyer Sheppard Mullin Washington DC
Partner

Jim Gatto is a partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. He is also Co-Team Leader of the firm's Digital Media Industry and Social Media and Games Industry Teams, Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency team, and Team Leader of the firm's Open Source Team. 

Areas of Practice

Mr. Gatto leverages his unique combination of nearly 30 years of IP experience, business insights and attention to technology trends to help companies develop IP and other legal...

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