The surge in AI-related bills introduced in state legislatures across the United States in 2023, along with the relatively low number of bills that have become law so far, highlights the growing importance of AI regulation at the state level. Here are some key takeaways from this development:
- State Leadership in AI Regulation: State legislatures are taking the lead in AI regulation, surpassing the pace of AI-related legislation in Washington, D.C. This indicates that states are proactive in addressing AI-related challenges and opportunities within their jurisdictions.
- California’s Influence: California, a hub for technology and innovation, often serves as a model for AI legislation in other states. This trend is consistent with the state’s historical influence on tech regulation, including digital privacy.
- Privacy and AI Overlap: The strong overlap between legislators focusing on digital privacy and AI is not surprising. Both areas raise significant concerns about data protection, security, and individual rights, making it natural for legislators to address them together.
- Popular AI Themes: Deepfakes, a form of AI-generated synthetic media, have garnered significant attention in legislative proposals. The fact that some of these bills have passed suggests a growing awareness of the risks associated with deepfake technology.
- Government Use of AI: Many bills focus on how state governments themselves will use AI. This reflects the need for clear guidelines on AI deployment in public services and agencies.
- Local Initiatives: Municipal and county level administrations, including those in Boston, Miami, New York City, San Jose, and Seattle, are actively engaged in regulating the workplace use of AI. Local governments play a crucial role in addressing AI’s impact at the grassroots level.
- Impact Assessments: Several states, including California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, are considering AI impact assessments to mitigate risks associated with certain AI applications. This approach emphasizes proactive evaluation of AI’s effects.
- Executive Orders and Agencies: State governors, such as California’s Gavin Newsom, are issuing AI-related executive orders, and state agencies are preparing rules for automated decision-making systems. These actions demonstrate a commitment to addressing AI at the executive level.
- Connecticut’s Role: Connecticut, led by State Senator James Maroney, is expected to be a center of AI-related legislative activity in 2024. Maroney has established a network of state legislators focused on AI, indicating a concerted effort to address AI issues.
- Industry Involvement: Tech companies like Workday are actively engaged in helping shape AI legislation to ensure that it aligns with industry best practices and standards.
- State-Level Lobbying: The increase in state-level AI legislation has spurred more AI lobbying efforts at the state level. Stakeholders are actively working with legislators to ensure that the resulting legislation is effective and well-informed.
In summary, the surge in AI-related legislation at the state level reflects the growing recognition of the importance of regulating AI technologies. State legislatures are taking a proactive approach to address AI-related challenges, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years.
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