Bipartisan bill from Thune, Capito, Wicker ramps up AI innovation, accountability

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) proposed bipartisan legislation that aims to bolster innovation and increase transparency and accountability for higher-risk artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

“AI is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to improve health care, agriculture, logistics and supply chains, and countless other industries,” Sen. Thune said. “As this technology continues to evolve, we should identify some basic rules of the road that protect consumers, foster an environment in which innovators and entrepreneurs can thrive, and limit government intervention.”

Sen. Thune on Nov. 15 sponsored the Artificial Intelligence Research, Innovation, and Accountability Act of 2023, S. 3312, alongside five original cosponsors, including Sen. Capito, Sen. Wicker, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“This legislation would bolster the United States’ leadership and innovation in AI,” said Sen. Thune, “while also establishing common-sense safety and security guardrails for the highest-risk AI applications.”

“I am glad to partner with my colleagues to introduce a bipartisan first step towards addressing the development of AI,” added Sen. Capito. “Our bill will allow for transparent and common-sense accountability without stifling the development of machine learning. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important legislation.”

If enacted, S. 3312 would establish a framework to strengthen innovation while bringing greater transparency, accountability, and security to the development and operation of the highest-impact applications of AI, according to a bill summary provided by the senators.

Sen. Wicker pointed out that AI technologies hold massive potential and said it’s important for Congress to provide guidance as new applications emerge.

“This legislation would provide a light-touch framework to help protect Americans and ensure this promising capability is not crushed by an overly burdensome and reactive approach,” said Sen. Wicker. 

The bill is under consideration by the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and has been endorsed by several entities, including the Information Technology Industry Council, China Tech Threat, the American Enterprise Institute, and IBM.

“AI comes with the potential for great benefits, but also serious risks, and our laws need to keep up,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation is one important step of many necessary towards addressing potential harms.”