House Leaders Create Bipartisan AI Task Force

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The House of Representatives is forming a bipartisan task force on artificial intelligence, with leaders in the lower chamber planning to explore ways to maintain America's lead on AI while considering "guardrails" for the technology.

The new committee will be formed with 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans picked by House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

The two House leaders said in an announcement on Tuesday that the new task force would focus on ways to ensure that advancements in AI would benefit "everyday Americans" while stopping "bad actors from exploiting" the technology.

"Because advancements in artificial intelligence have the potential to rapidly transform our economy and our society, it is important for Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to understand and plan for both the promises and the complexities of this transformative technology," Johnson said in a statement.

Critics have said that Congress has been slow to act as artificial intelligence technology saw rapid advancement in recent years. Both the House and Senate have held high-profile hearings and forums on the technology, and the House formed an AI "working group" last month, but no significant legislation regulating the technology has passed so far.

"Congress has a responsibility to facilitate the promising breakthroughs that artificial intelligence can bring to fruition and ensure that everyday Americans benefit from these advancements in an equitable manner," Jeffries said in a statement. "Congress needs to work in a bipartisan way to ensure that America continues to lead in this emerging space, while also preventing bad actors from exploiting this evolving technology."

The White House stepped into the fray in October, when President Joe Biden signed a wide-reaching executive order on AI, creating new standards for security, AI-created fraud, and safety testing.

According to the House leaders, the new task force will produce a "comprehensive report" featuring "bipartisan policy proposals."

The task force will be chaired by Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., with Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., serving as co-chair.

A computer engineer and video game developer by trade, Obernolte has served as the vice-chair of the House's Artificial Intelligence Caucus, backing legislation to expand access to AI tools for research.

In September, he told Politico's AI Summit that Congress still needed to work through the best framework for regulating the technology, whether that be through a dedicated agency or a "sectoral approach."

Lieu, meanwhile, has called for a dedicated federal agency staffed with subject-matter experts to regulate AI. Last summer, he sponsored legislation that would have created a blue-ribbon commission to develop policy recommendations on the technology.

The bill never moved.

"AI has the capability of changing our lives as we know it. The question is how to ensure AI benefits society instead of harming us," Lieu said in a statement Tuesday. "As a recovering Computer Science major, I know this will not be an easy or quick or one-time task, but I believe Congress has an essential role to play in the future of AI. I have been heartened to see so many Members of Congress of all political persuasions agree."

--Editing by Nicole Bleier.

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