On September 8, 2023, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, announced a new bipartisan framework for artificial intelligence (“AI”) legislation. Senator Blumenthal said, “This bipartisan framework is a milestone – the first tough, comprehensive legislative blueprint for real, enforceable AI protections. It should put us on a path to addressing the promise and peril AI portends.” He also told CTInsider that he hopes to have a “detailed legislative proposal” ready for Congress by the end of this year.
The framework focuses on several key goals, summarized below:
- Establish a Licensing Regime Administered by an Independent Oversight Body: The framework proposes a licensing regime administered by an independent body. With respect to which entities would need to register, the framework states that “[c]ompanies developing sophisticated general-purpose A.I. models should be required to register.” The framework contemplates that licensing would include information on the AI model and that the oversight board would have authority to conduct audits of companies seeking licenses.
- Ensure Legal Accountability for Harms: The framework encourages Congress to ensure that AI companies can be held liable through both oversight body enforcement and private rights of action, including by “clarifying that Section 230 does not apply to A.I.”
- Defend National Security and International Competition: The framework notes that Congress should use export controls, sanctions, and other restrictions to limit the transfer of advanced AI models and associated technologies to adversary nations and countries engaged in human rights violations.
- Promote Transparency: The framework also alludes to certain responsibilities for developers and deployers of AI systems. For example, the framework states that “[d]evelopers should be required to disclose essential information about the training data, limitations, accuracy, and safety” of the model to both users and companies deploying AI systems. The framework also mentions that “A.I. system providers” should be required to watermark or otherwise provide technical disclosures of AI-generated deep fakes.
- Protect Consumers and Kids: The framework states that companies “deploying A.I. in high-risk or consequential situations” should be required to “implement safety brakes,” such as providing notice when AI is being used to make decisions, “particularly adverse decisions.” The framework also states that “strict limits should be imposed on generative A.I. involving kids.”