Schumer Bill Would Dramatically Increase AI Funding but Fails to Propose AI Safeguards

May 28, 2021

The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act introduced recently by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would earmark $53 billion for technological and AI development yet fails to include critical safeguards for federal AI deployment. One section of the bill, the Endless Frontier Act, would significantly increase National Science Foundation funding to expand research and improve the diversity of the STEM workforce. The bill would also allocate funds for analyzing and combatting human rights violations in China and promoting "American Leadership" in AI development. Another section of the bill, the Advancing American AI Act, would incrementally improve the transparency and accountability of government AI use. The Office of Management and Budget would be tasked with ensuring that federal contracts for AI systems address "privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties," and each agency would be required to assemble and publish (when "practicable") an inventory of its AI systems. However, the bill—much of which tracks recommendations by the NSCAI—fails to establish binding limitations on federal AI use and offers little protection for members of the public injured by government-operated AI systems. EPIC previously urged the Commission to recommend substantive limits on AI to protect individuals against harmful, biased, invasive, and unreliable AI systems.

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