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A bipartisan group of senators unveils a plan to tackle artificial intelligence

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, seen here at the U.S. Capitol on May 8, unveiled a road map proposal about artificial intelligence on behalf of a bipartisan Senate working group.
Allison Bailey
Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, seen here at the U.S. Capitol on May 8, unveiled a road map proposal about artificial intelligence on behalf of a bipartisan Senate working group.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has released a long-awaited report detailing actions congressional committees can take to address the advancements and risks of artificial intelligence.

"Congress can't and won't solve every challenge AI presents today," Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a press conference Wednesday. "But we can lay down a base of smart, bipartisan policy proposals, guided by both urgency and humility."

What's in the proposal?

The report's goal of $32 billion by 2026 aligns with a 2021 report by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

The working group's road map includes the following proposals:

— Increasing funding for AI innovation to "maintain global competitiveness"

— Ensuring enforcement of existing AI laws and to address any unintended bias

— Considering the impact AI will have on the U.S. workforce, including potential job displacement and demands to train workers

— Addressing issues related to deepfakes, particularly with regard to election content and "nonconsensual intimate images"

— Mitigating threats of "potential long-term risk scenarios"

Schumer said he plans to meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson soon to ensure the effort can have bicameral support.

A bipartisan path following months of vetting

The 30-page road map is the result of nine forums with over 150 AI experts convened by a bipartisan Senate working group, including Schumer and fellow Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich, and GOP Sens. Todd Young and Mike Rounds.

"We had experts from all walks of life — people, of course, from the tech industry, but people from the civil rights community and the labor community and critics of AI — all coming together and actually talking to each other and coming up with both questions we had to answer and solutions to some of those questions," Schumer said.

Schumer touted the potential of "transformational innovation" that could come from harnessing the powers of AI.

"The kind of reaching for the stars — that's saying that AI might wipe out cancer, eliminate world hunger, prevent us from being attacked," he said, before adding that Congress must also anticipate potential threats.

"We know there are harms that can come from AI, whether it be hurting labor in the workforce, bias that's built into the systems, dealing with intellectual property," he said. "And so we also need innovation to come up with ways to minimize those liabilities."

Schumer stressed that the Senate won't pursue one large comprehensive package targeting the issue, but rather lean on committees to forge ahead with parts of the report related to their area of expertise.

The report's release comes just days after OpenAI announced upgrades to ChatGPT.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Barbara Sprunt
Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.