Reps. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., today introduced a new resolution supporting “the development of guidelines for the ethical development of artificial intelligence (AI).”

“AI is the next phase of the digital revolution,” said Khanna in a statement. “The burden falls on Congress to ensure that technology is implemented with thoughtful guidance given the shifting scope of privacy protections in the digital economy. Regulation and innovation must go hand in hand.”

While Lawrence and Khanna introduced H.R. 153, it is also cosponsored by Reps. Darren Soto, D-Fla., Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Haley Stevens, D-Mich., Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Charlie Christ, D-Fla.

“Today, I introduced a resolution in Congress calling for the ethical development of artificial intelligence,” Lawrence tweeted today. “Congress has a central role to play in shaping the development of AI today for the benefit of all Americans. This resolution is a big first step.”

In a statement, the legislators said the new resolution aims to promote:

  • “Engagement among industry, government, academia, and civil society.
  • Transparency and explainability of AI systems, processes, and implications.
  • Helping to empower women and underrepresented or marginalized populations.
  • Information privacy and the protection of one’s personal data.
  • Career opportunity to find meaningful work and maintain a livelihood.
  • Accountability and oversight for all automated decision making.
  • Lifelong learning in STEM, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Access and fairness regarding technological services and benefits.
  • Interdisciplinary research about AI that is safe and beneficial.
  • Safety, security, and control of AI systems now and in the future.”

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to address some of the greatest challenges facing humanity, such as climate change, wealth, and income inequality,” said Lawrence in a statement. “The broad societal impact of AI demands the inclusion of public opinion so that the few don’t make decisions for the many. To realize the full potential of AI, we must ensure that government, industry, academia, and organizations dedicated to protecting privacy, civil rights, and liberties work together to develop AI in an ethical and transparent manner.”

The legislation is also endorsed by Future of Life Institute, BSA | The Software Alliance, IBM, and Facebook.

“This important resolution appropriately acknowledges that artificial intelligence has the potential of helping our nation, and human civilization, flourish like never before–as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial,” said the Future of Life Institute in a statement. “We strongly support [the legislation’s] call for AI development guidelines, especially as it relates to the safety, security, and control of AI systems now and in the future.”

Aaron Cooper, vice president of Global Policy for BSA | The Software Alliance, agreed and said “AI will thrive only if people can trust that it’s designed and being used in a way that respects data privacy, preserves accountability, and empowers users. Ensuring that these ethical considerations are built into the fabric of AI is a top priority for the industry.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.