Senate Holds Second AI Insight Forum on Capitol Hill

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate held its second closed-door bipartisan AI Insight Forum on Capitol Hill. The event was attended by many Senators as well as a range of academic experts, business leaders, and civic organization leaders.

While members of the Senate continue to educate themselves about AI, they are also taking action, introducing legislative proposals focused on certain uses of AI. Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Artificial Intelligence Advancement Act of 2023, which would mandate a bug bounty program, a study of AI-enabled military applications, and a report on the use of AI in the financial services sector. Coverage of these developments can be found in Engadget and Tech Policy Press.

Happy Halloween! Thank you for reading. Check out our roundup of this week’s tech policy news and a featured podcast below.

This Week in Washington 

  • The Washington Post: Next week, the Biden administration is set to unveil a much anticipated executive order on AI which aims to build on voluntary AI safety and transparency commitments signed by 15 leading companies.
  • Reuters: During their meeting in Washington this week, President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will announce their plan to cooperate on technology innovations, including AI, clean energy, and critical minerals.
  • The Washington Post: The Supreme Court put a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that barred the Biden administration from directing social media platforms to remove posts deemed as misleading to the public, specifically regarding public health and election-related disinformation.
  • Axios: The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) jointly released a toolkit outlining ways for the healthcare sector to mitigate risks. This toolkit is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to strengthen defenses around the U.S. healthcare infrastructure.
  • Fierce Telecom: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) had not established its Middle Mile program in accordance with recommended practices, so the NTIA has adopted recommendations from them to better their program.
  • Telecompetitor: The Biden administration has requested $6 billion to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helps lower the cost of broadband for low-income households, through 2024.
  • Semafor: Washington has experienced a surge in well-monied think tanks that are focusing on AI policy, such as the Artificial Intelligence Policy Institute (AIPI), the Institute for AI Policy and Strategy (IAPS), and the Center for AI Safety (CAIS).
  • Fierce Telecom: Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging them to change the way broadband providers access utility poles, citing that reasonable access to poles is currently obstructed by a number of factors such as workforce shortages.
  • FedScoop: After raising concerns that not enough is being done to protect consumers from robocall scams, members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Communication, Media and Broadband are considering how generative AI could be used to fill the gaps and protect consumers from illegal robocalls and robotexts that also use AI.
  • Reuters: The Biden administration named 31 U.S. regional technology hubs, from 370 applications, that are eligible to receive $500 million in federal funding. This funding will help spur innovation across a variety of sectors, such as electric vehicle battery production, semiconductors, and clean energy, in hopes of attracting more private sector investments.

Article Summary

  • NPR: Although AI is working its way into every form of technology out there, it is seen as particularly promising in its ability to help doctors make diagnoses and has already found its way into some doctor’s offices. 
  • The Washington Post: 41 states and D.C. have sent a barrage of lawsuits at Meta, alleging the company’s platforms Instagram and Facebook are harmful and addictive for children. This is the largest state challenge over the impacts of social media on children’s mental health to date.
  • StateScoop:  U.S. Digital Response, a nonprofit civic tech group, is leading a new initiative to assist state and local government agencies in hiring and retaining staff with digital skills. The organization provides guidance for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retention programs.
  • KTUL: The Oklahoma Broadband Office is working to provide high-speed internet access to the nearly 730,000 underserved citizens throughout the state.

Featured Podcast

The Wall Street Journal

  • Tech News Briefing
    Generative artificial intelligence technology is still in the early stages of development. Some researchers are debating whether the tools that exist now are coming up with their own conclusions or just repeating information. WSJ tech columnist Christopher Mims says this is one reason the approach to developing AI models will need to change. (Does AI ‘Think’? We’re Still Figuring That Out – October 24, 2023)