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Lawmakers navigate dangers of AI and challenges regulating it



As artificial intelligence gets more widespread, the federal government is looking for ways to regulate its use and protect American citizens from some of its harmful effects.

President Joe Biden said during a speech last month that the government needs to regulate the risks of artificial intelligence, such as the spread of misinformation and scams. 

“AI is going to change the way we teach, learn, and help solve challenges like disease and climate change and giving the time to focus on the things that matter most to you personally,” said Biden.

Human shaped robot Ameca of British manufacturer Engineered Arts is displayed on July 06, 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland. Some 3,000 global experts from big tech, education and international organisations will gather at a two-day summit in Geneva organised by the United Nations to discuss artificial intelligence in its potential for empowering humanity. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

“But in seizing this moment, we need to manage the risks to our society…from protecting privacy to addressing bias and disinformation to making sure AI systems are safe before they are released.”

U.S. ­Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., told theGrio that Congress and Biden need to work together to establish legislation ahead of the next presidential election.

“Our last election and our social media platforms were used to disseminate a lot of false, misleading and deceptive information,” said Clarke, who noted it may have impacted the outcome of elections.

I can only imagine, with the proliferation of AI-generated content, how disruptive it could be in the upcoming election,” she said.

In June, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., introduced the AI Disclosure Act of 2023, legislation that would require generative artificial intelligence to be accompanied by a message that reads, “Disclaimer: this output has been generated by artificial intelligence.”

“All generative AI – whether the content it generates is text or images, video or audio – should be required to disclose itself as AI,” Torres said in a public statement. 

Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from New York, speaks at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on oversight of the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve coronavirus pandemic response on Capitol Hillon September 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

He continued, “Disclosure is by no means a magic bullet, but it’s a common-sense starting point to what will surely be a long road to regulation.”

The Democratic congressman said that while artificial intelligence is a good thing, it can be potentially misused by bad actors.

“AI is the most revolutionary technology of our time. It has the potential to be a weapon of mass disinformation, dislocation, and destruction,” said Torres. He added, “Carefully crafting a regulatory framework for managing the existential risks of AI will be one of the central challenges confronting Congress in the years and decades to come.”

He warned that there is “danger in both under-regulating and over-regulating” the advancing technology.

Congresswoman ­Clarke told theGrio, “AI-generated content can be manipulated [and] can be deceiving on a very large scale.”

“[It is important] that we act as quickly as we can because it could have devastating consequences for our national security and, of course, our election security,” she cautioned.

Clarke contends that there are both pros and cons to the emergence of artificial intelligence. The congresswoman added that it is important for Congress “to put some really important regulatory guardrails up…to protect the American consumer from ill-fated attempts that could be used by bad actors.”

While AI can be great, like providing “more efficient, innovative ways of sharing information,” Clarke said the technology is “rapidly modernizing itself, and there aren’t real rules to its usage.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today! 


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