September 20, 2023
U.S. Senator, Indiana
Executive Vice President, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President, Center for Technology Engagement (C_TEC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The dialogue about artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved from one of skepticism to one of acceptance as the technology becomes more embedded in daily life. This shift in the conversation has given way to talks of broader societal and legislative regulation of AI usage.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global AI Forum, Senator Todd Young (R-IN), who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation and Bipartisan Senate Working Group on AI, spoke on this important topic. He joined Tom Quaadman, the Executive Vice President of Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), to discuss the changing narrative around AI and the government’s outlook on its future legislation.
Legislative Views on AI Must Change with Society’s Views
As AI models learn and evolve, so do the societal narratives around them. Long-time skeptics are shifting their opinions as government officials begin to introduce more forums and opportunities for input on modern technology.
With this renewed outlook on AI, Young sees an opportunity for the U.S. to accommodate constituents’ needs while establishing itself as a strong competitor by setting worldwide standards. However, officials must be willing to work with and consider the values of other global leaders to spearhead this change.
“We share so many values and… imperatives, including national security,” Young said. “If we can link together our efforts and embed the next-gen and the follow-up generations of AI with our values, that's going to help all of our citizens. It'll lead to a seamless AI economy, and we can set the standards for artificial intelligence, even for our adversaries.”
The Government’s Next Steps in Establishing AI Laws Require an Agile Approach
While there have been talks of how the government intends to handle the rise of AI, the path forward remains a bit unclear as officials continue to learn about the technology and its pitfalls. However, Young emphasized that many fears regarding AI may be less dire than its critics were led to believe.
“It is already against the law to do most of the things that people are concerned about within the AI context,” Young said. “So the challenge is, how do you, in this AI-enabled world, apply those existing prohibitions to new circumstances?”
Rather than creating a new agency focused on AI, Young believes the U.S. government needs a more agile system that allows for learning opportunities like short-term consultations with experts to improve its technological expertise.
“The challenge will be to adapt existing statutes … to an AI-enabled society,” Young noted.
Additionally, he believes officials handling legislative work around AI — who do not have extensive expertise on the subject — should practice humility, as it is a new, complex frontier that even experienced developers often struggle to interpret.