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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced legislation to establish guidelines to be used within the federal government to mitigate risks associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) while still benefiting from new technology. U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA-36) plans to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Congress directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop an AI Risk Management Framework that organizations, public and private, could employ to ensure they use AI systems in a trustworthy manner. This framework was released earlier this year and is supported by a wide range of public and private sector organizations, but federal agencies are not currently required to use this framework to manage their use of AI systems.

The Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act would require federal agencies to incorporate the NIST framework into their AI management efforts to help limit the risks that could be associated with AI technology.

“The rapid development of AI has shown that it is an incredible tool that can boost innovation across industries,” said Sen. Warner. “But we have also seen the importance of establishing strong governance, including ensuring that any AI deployed is fit for purpose, subject to extensive testing and evaluation, and monitored across its lifecycle to ensure that it is operating properly. It’s crucial that the federal government follow the reasonable guidelines already outlined by NIST when dealing with AI in order to capitalize on the benefits while mitigating risks.”

“AI has tremendous potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government, in addition to the potential positive impacts on the private sector,” said Sen. Moran. “However, it would be naïve to ignore the risks that accompany this emerging technology, including risks related to data privacy and challenges verifying AI-generated data. The sensible guidelines established by NIST are already being utilized in the private sector and should be applied to federal agencies to make certain we are protecting the American people as we apply this technology to government functions.”

“Okta is a strong proponent of interoperability across technical standards and governance models alike and as such we applaud Senators Warner and Moran for their bipartisan Federal AI Risk Management Framework Act,” said Michael Clauser, Director, Head of US Federal Affairs, Okta. “This bill complements the Administration’s recent Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and takes the next steps by providing the legislative authority to require federal software vendors and government agencies alike to develop and deploy AI in accordance with the NIST AI Risk Management Framework (RMF). The RMF is a quality model for what public-private partnerships can produce and a useful tool as AI developers and deployers govern, map, measure, manage, and mitigate risk from low- and high-impact AI models alike.”

“IEEE-USA heartily supports the Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act of 2023,” said Russell Harrison, Managing Director, IEEE-USA. “Making the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) mandatory helps protect the public from unintended risks of AI systems yet permits AI technology to mature in ways that benefit the public. Requiring agencies to use standards, like those developed by IEEE, will protect both public welfare and innovation by providing a useful checklist for agencies implementing AI systems. Required compliance does not interfere with competitiveness; it promotes clarity by setting forth a ‘how-to.’”

“Procurement of AI systems is challenging because AI evaluation is a complex topic and expertise is often lacking in government.” said Dr. Arvind Narayanan, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University. “It is also high-stakes because AI is used for making consequential decisions. The Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act tackles this important problem with a timely and comprehensive approach to revamping procurement by shoring up expertise, evaluation capabilities, and risk management.”

"Risk management in AI requires making responsible choices with appropriate stakeholder involvement at every stage in the technology's development; by requiring federal agencies to follow the guidance of the NIST AI Risk Management Framework to that end, the Federal AI Risk Management Act will contribute to making the technology more inclusive and safer overall,” said Yacine Jernite, Machine Learning & Society Lead, Hugging Face. “Beyond its direct impact on the use of AI technology by the Federal Government, this will also have far-reaching consequences by fostering more shared knowledge and development of necessary tools and good practices. We support the Act and look forward to the further opportunities it will bring to build AI technology more responsibly and collaboratively."

“The Enterprise Cloud Coalition supports the Federal AI Risk Management Act of 2023, which mandates agencies adopt the NIST AI Risk Management Framework to guide the procurement of AI solutions,” said Andrew Howell, Executive Director, Enterprise Cloud Coalition. “By standardizing risk management practices, this act ensures a higher degree of reliability and security in AI technologies used within our government, aligning with our coalition's commitment to trust in technology. We believe this legislation is a critical step toward advancing the United States' leadership in the responsible use and development of artificial intelligence on the global stage.”

A one-page explanation of the legislation of the legislation can be found here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) – Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, and former technology entrepreneur – issued the statement below after President Joe Biden announced a new executive order on Artificial Intelligence.

I am impressed by the breadth of this Executive Order – with sections devoted to increasing AI workforce inside and outside of government, federal procurement, and global engagement. I am also happy to see a number of sections that closely align with my efforts around AI safety and security and federal government’s use of AI. At the same time, many of these just scratch the surface – particularly in areas like health care and competition policy. Other areas overlap pending bipartisan legislation, such as the provision related to national security use of AI, which duplicates some of the work in the past two Intel Authorization Acts related to AI governance. While this is a good step forward, we need additional legislative measures, and I will continue to work diligently to ensure that we prioritize security, combat bias and harmful misuse, and responsibly roll out technologies.”

    

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to President Biden, urging the Administration to boost the federal government’s tech workforce in order to address the challenges of rapidly advancing AI, building on previous government initiatives to draw in engineers, product managers, and other digital policy experts to revamp the government’s approach to technology. In his letter, Sen. Warner stressed the need for a similar arrangement specifically targeting AI.

“It is clear to me that we will not be able to meet the need in this rapidly advancing field without a diverse and representative group of talented minds,” Sen. Warner wrote. “These individuals should possess technical knowledge, but also a keen understanding of the social impact of AI.”

He continued, “Your administration has taken a number of practical and important steps to advance the safe deployment of AI technologies. To supplement these efforts, I urge you to use your existing authority to bring the best and brightest minds to the table to help our nation grapple with the wide-ranging impact that AI will have on our society. I look forward to working with you on this endeavor.”

Sen. Warner, a former tech entrepreneur, has been a leading voice in the Senate calling for increased efforts into appropriately regulating and addressing the threats of AI, while still harnessing its full potential. Sen. Warner engaged directly with AI companies to push for responsible development and deployment. Last month, he sent a series of letters to major AI companies urging them to take additional action to promote safety and prevent malicious misuse of their products. In April, Sen. Warner  called on AI CEOs to develop practices that would ensure that their products and systems are secure. In July, he also pushed on the Biden administration to keep working with AI companies to expand the scope of the voluntary commitments.

Additionally, Sen. Warner wrote to Google last month to raise concerns about their testing of new AI technology in medical settings. Separately, he urged the CEOs of several AI companies to address a concerning report that generative chatbots were producing instructions on how to exacerbate an eating disorder.

Text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear President Biden,

I write today regarding the need to bolster our Federal workforce and build capacity within the government to address artificial intelligence (AI). Already, excellent work related to AI is happening across the Federal government – from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to the National Institutes of Health – but given the work that needs to be done, we undoubtedly need more expertise and more capacity. The rapid advancements in AI technologies underscores the need to build a robust knowledge base within the Federal government to grapple with AI applications across various sectors of our economy and society. Given the speed of innovation in this space, I urge you to use the powers of your office to launch a new initiative focused on bringing the best and brightest minds into government service to meet the challenges and harness the benefits of AI.

In recent years, we have seen successful examples of innovative initiatives that bring talented individuals together within the Federal government to serve the public and solve some of our government’s most pressing needs. For example, 18F has brought together a team of designers, software engineers, strategists, and product managers to collaborate with federal agencies in order to improve and modernize government technology. Similarly, the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) has brought together engineers, product managers, and digital policy experts to be paired with leading civil servants in order to impact our government’s approach to technology and address some of the most critical government services. What these initiatives have in common – and what I believe we must focus on in a similar initiative for AI – is bringing together a group of bright minds, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, to lend their expertise to the federal government on issues of national importance.

It is clear to me that we will not be able to meet the need in this rapidly advancing field without a diverse and representative group of talented minds. These individuals should possess technical knowledge but also a keen understanding of the social impact of AI. Furthermore, a dedicated group of individuals focused solely on AI can help the federal government think through the opportunities to harness AI technologies to meet federal objectives while also working collaboratively with agencies to guard against AI-generated risks within their purview.

Your Administration has taken a number of practical and important steps to advance the safe deployment of AI technologies. To supplement these efforts, I urge you to use your existing authority to bring the best and brightest minds to the table to help our nation grapple with the wide-ranging impact that AI will have on our society. I look forward to working with you on this endeavor.

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