230914 AI Priorities Congress
September 14, 2023
To the Members of the United States Congress:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes it is imperative that Congress advance policies that support the deployment of ethical artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure continued global leadership by the United States for the benefit of American consumers, workers, and America’s continued economic competitiveness, and we believe this outcome is best achieved through a thoughtful, open, and bipartisan process. We applaud your strong, collaborative work on these issues. The Chamber commits to serve as a resource as Congress charts a pathway necessary for the development and deployment of responsible AI.
The Chamber has convened leading voices among academia, civil society, and the innovation community to address the concerns arising from AI. In March 2023, our independent AI Commission issued a report outlining five pillars for AI policy, which specifically recommended a risk-based, gap-filling approach that uses existing laws and regulations as a foundation and identifies additional needed policy action.
While much attention is paid to potential risks of AI, it is also the case that AI offers enormous potential to improve our economy, improve American’s standard of living, and speed up critical research, such as in the medical field. Minimizing risks while maximizing opportunities requires a balanced approach.
Accordingly, we make the following recommendations as a basis for Congressional action:
1. Creation of the office of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Emerging Technology
A McKinsey study estimated that AI will contribute an additional $13 trillion in global economic output, an increase of 16%, by 2030. The appropriate policies must be in place for the United States to reap the economic benefits of AI. While the National Security Council has functioned as an intergovernmental coordinator for security issues, no one entity is charged with coordinating non-security AI issues within the executive branch. Accordingly, we recommend the creation of an office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Emerging Technology. The Assistant Secretary would be tasked with coordinating AI policies, convening agencies, as well as identifying and eliminating regulatory overlap or dead zones. The Assistant Secretary would also function as the primary official, working with the State Department, to provide the domestic viewpoint in negotiations related to non-security international agreements related to emerging technology and the development of an AI global framework.
2. Report to Congress on Current Laws and Regulations Applicable to AI
The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Emerging Technology should be tasked with developing a report to Congress, which will create an inventory of existing laws and regulations applicable to AI and identify potential gaps that need to be filled. This report should follow the standard Request for Information processes and abide by the Administrative Procedures Act to include public comment. Staff at Commerce could begin this process before an assistant secretary is formally established.
3. Authorization and Funding of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource
Congress should create a process for researchers to pursue foundational research through authorization and funding of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR). Congress’s historic investments in areas such as basic sciences, energy innovation, and semiconductors have brought enormous value. Directing similar federal attention to and investment in AI research would help to greatly enhance computing power, and support America’s competitive advantage in innovation.
4. R&D in Complementary Emerging Technologies such as Quantum Computing
Quantum computing uses atomic physics to speed computing times and increase memory capabilities. This exponential increase in computing, once paired with AI, will have profound implications. We encourage appropriate levels of investment for research and development of quantum computing and other complementary emerging technologies. Fortunately, Congress has taken a first step in this area. The CHIPS and Science Act authorized research and development funding for AI and quantum computing. We encourage you to ensure this program is funded.
5. Inventory of Authorities to Combat Fraud
Troubling reports of fraud utilizing artificial intelligence have emerged, such as the use of applications like deepfakes and cloned voices. Congress should conduct an inventory of the authorities that federal agencies possess to directly investigate and prosecute bad actors and to identify resources and technologies needed to help agencies combat fraud. The federal government should prioritize prosecuting fraudulent activity while avoiding burdensome rules for the legitimate development of technology.
6. National Science Foundation should develop and routinely update K-12 Education guidelines.
The National Science Foundation should provide routine reports to Congress on AI and education. The first report should be developed with input from state and local educational authorities. It should concentrate on establishing and providing essential guidelines to better prepare students for the use of AI and machine learning. The second report, developed with higher education institutions, should provide similar recommendations for colleges, universities, and graduate schools. These reports should follow the standard Request for Information and Administrative Procedure Act processes, including opportunities for public comment.
7. Department of Commerce Strategy on Worker Training and Re-Skilling
The Department of Commerce, through its convening and coordinating authority, should survey domestic labor needs and potential labor gaps. Commerce should recommend the training, re-skilling, and life-long career programs needed to transition, develop, and maintain a workforce that integrates AI tools. This report should follow the standard Request for Information processes and abide by the Administrative Procedures Act to include public comment.
8. Ensure that the U.S. Remains the Top Destination for the World’s Tech Talent
The United States currently faces a significant shortage of highly skilled programmers and developers to help develop and deploy responsible AI. Our outdated immigration laws are a significant obstacle for U.S. companies to overcome in meeting their high-skilled workforce needs. For the U.S. to maintain its global leadership in these innovative fields, Congress must provide American businesses greater access to work-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for these highly skilled, highly educated workers.
9. Fully Resource Technology and Expertise Within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Congress should provide additional resources to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to provide the technology, training and expertise needed to speed the review of AI- and machine learning–related public patent applications. The Chamber will continue to engage with Congress on specific intellectual property reforms needed to address the increased use of AI.
We look forward to working with Congress to adopt the necessary policies for further innovation, apply appropriate guardrails where needed, and maintain global U.S. leadership. By doing so, American consumers, workers and businesses will all benefit from this revolutionary technology.
Neil L. Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer,
and Head of Strategic Advocacy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce