Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the Federal workforce’s understanding of AI and ensure its ethical and safe use.

The Artificial Intelligence Training for the Acquisition Workforce Act would create a training program that would help Federal employees responsible for purchasing AI technologies better understand its risks and benefits.

“Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated and the government must be able to utilize this technology in an ethical way that is consistent with American values and our democracy,” said Sen. Peters. “Federal employees must be aware of the ethical implications, risks, and benefits associated with AI. This important legislation will help protect our national security, help us remain competitive in the long run, and make sure AI technology is used properly.”

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The legislation would require the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “provide and regularly update an AI training program for Federal employees who manage and purchase this technology for the Federal government.” Additionally, it would work to educate Federal employees to understand the ethical and national security risks posed by AI.

The bill also “encourages” the OMB director to work with scholars and experts from public and private sector to create the training.

“We need a Federal acquisition workforce that understands AI, how it works, how it can help the government run better, and the ways we can fix the problems with AI systems so those procurement professionals can know they are buying the right AI systems for the government,” said Sen. Portman.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.