Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, has put forth a legislative proposal mandating Federal agencies to appoint senior officials responsible for ensuring the alignment of the Federal government’s utilisation of emerging technologies with ‘democratic values.’
New bill in the senate aims to create leaders in emerging technologies
Known as the Oversight of Emerging Technology Act, Senator Bennet introduced the bill just last week. Its primary objective is to oblige pertinent Federal agencies to assign a senior official capable of providing counsel on the conscientious application of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, and quantum computing.
“The Federal government should lead by example to ensure its use of emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, aligns with our democratic values,” Sen. Bennet stated in a statement. “This bill creates clear accountability across Federal agencies, charging senior officials with overseeing the responsible adoption and development of new technology.”
More specifically, the proposed legislation mandates the designated senior official to offer proficient guidance on conscientious policies and practices, engage in collaboration with officials and coordinating bodies throughout the Federal government, and contribute input towards responsible procurement policies.
To comply with the legislation, heads of agencies would be required to identify the appointed official and furnish Congress with a comprehensive account of their authorities and responsibilities.
As stated by the senator’s office, guaranteeing that each agency utilising or procuring emerging technology possesses adequate personnel will enhance accountability and facilitate more robust oversight.
By doing so, the Federal government could protect the nation from “the potential harms of government misuse and ensure that the deployment of this technology respects civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and due process,” his office said.
Just a few weeks prior to the introduction of the most recent bill, Senator Bennet presented legislation aimed at advancing the conscientious application of AI technologies by establishing an AI task force at the White House under the cabinet-level.
Known as the ASSESS AI (Assuring Safe, Secure, Ethical, and Stable Systems for AI) Act, this legislation proposes the formation of a task force responsible for evaluating existing AI policies throughout the Federal government, with a particular focus on upholding civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and due process in the Federal government’s AI tools and policies.
Senator Bennet highlighted that although the Biden administration has taken strides towards encouraging responsible AI usage, there is still a lack of a comprehensive roadmap encompassing AI policies, regulations, and tools.
Similar to the rationale behind introducing the Oversee Emerging Technology Act, Senator Bennet emphasised the need for the Federal government to set an example and ensure the responsible utilisation of AI as its deployment gains momentum.
“Americans deserve the confidence that our government’s use of AI won’t violate their rights or undermine their privacy,” Sen. Bennet said in a press release.
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