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Congress weighing how to regulate the quickly-advancing AI industry

WASHINGTON D.C. — The explosive use of artificial intelligence has Congress now debating the emerging technology. They’re weighing the potential benefits and risks, and trying to figure out how to regulate this growing industry.

Whether you realize it or not, artificial intelligence is growing faster than you think. With apps like ChatGPT hitting 100 million users as of February, according to Similarweb data.

But AI doesn’t stop there.

“Right now, if I’m applying for a job, I don’t know if an AI tool is screening my application and if it might be discriminating against me in the first place. So, there’s a lot Congress can do to mandate transparency about when these tools are being used, about how they work,” said Alexandra Givens, President and CEO at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). It’s a nonprofit organization that focuses on digital rights.

She said Congress must develop ways to separate the creative good of AI from the potential harms to national security.

“There’s also real risk about our information environment. What does it look like when they’re faking political news or political threat or a national security threat? So, really significant concerns that we’re going to have to think about,” said Givens.

Givens wants them to consider regulation that can evolve with the technology.

“So when we say an AI system needs to be audited and a company needs to go through a risk assessment before they deploy it and after its deployed and report that. It actually doesn’t matter if the tech evolves over the next few years that governance framework is in place and available for people,” said Givens.

Out of curiously, the Washington News Bureau even asked ChatGPT to draft federal regulation for AI. The results were similar to what we’ve heard on Capitol Hill with mentions of transparency, accountability, safety and oversight.

“Despite the benefits of artificial intelligence, we cannot lose sight of how this powerful technology is changing the cyber battlefield for our adversaries as well,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R - South Dakota.

That’s why lawmakers are also turning to AI companies for help.

“Tell us what should be there to not just protect your market if you will but protect basically the use of this and the intentions of what it’s for,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D - West Virginia

The Office of Management and Budget is also taking some step. The federal agency will release its draft policy for the government’s use of AI systems for public comment this summer.

Additionally, there are already some protections in place. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released a joint statement about their efforts to use existing law under their authorities to protect people from AI-related harms.