Artificial intelligence policy has emerged as a key area of bipartisan movement in the 118th Congress, and this is only set to further develop in 2024. To that end, several notable lawmakers have indicated that this year will be the most substantial year of AI policy, with a long-awaited AI legislative package set to come to fruition in Congress and even more actions expected from the administration.
While artificial intelligence has been an area of policy attention for the several few years, there has been an exponential rise in interest from lawmakers ever since a hearing in May last year where there was unanimous agreement between policymakers and industry that AI technology needs to be regulated. This initial hearing kicked off a strong congressional effort to coordinate on bicameral, bipartisan legislation with collaboration between the public and private sectors. The central focus of this effort has been to develop strong rules that govern AI’s growing impact on society and deter its negative uses and consequences, while also ensuring that the U.S. remains at the forefront of innovation as countries around the world also accelerate their AI efforts.
Furthermore, this congressional focus has also been matched by greater policy movement across all levels of government – culminating in what is likely to be a substantial year for AI regulation in 2024. See below for a top-line rundown of the top areas that will define 2024 as the year of AI policy regulation:
Congress: As already mentioned, efforts have been underway over the past several months to develop comprehensive legislation that would govern federal regulation across AI systems. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that this legislative framework will be unveiled early this year, with input from various committees of jurisdiction. Expect more committee hearings to be held early this year, after which the legislative text will be finalized. Stakeholders have already been active in the formulation of this legislation, but should continue to be involved as the legislation continues to evolve with far-reaching impact on a variety of arenas including privacy, liability, transparency, research & development, copyright, national security, workforce impacts, and more.
Administration: In late October last year, the Biden administration published their Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development of Artificial Intelligence. This executive order included a number of directives for federal agencies to implement new standards and safeguards on AI practices, as well as instructions to companies on facilitating better information sharing on AI safety. Many of the actions established by the Executive Order are set to be released early this year, which will dominate much of the early months of activity related to AI. However, stakeholders should expect that there will be continued movement on AI policy at the administration level – especially involving the greater use of AI in federal systems, while also requiring that these technologies meet greater safety and security standards.
State Governments: While the federal government has been dominating the headlines with their focus on AI policy, there have been a number of notable policies moving at the state and local level related to artificial intelligence regulation. From Colorado’s regulation of AI’s use in insurance algorithms to Michigan’s new laws to curb election deepfakes manufactured by AI, there were several AI-related regulations enacted by states in 2023. Furthermore, several states have also set up AI advisory councils that have been tasked with developing plans for AI regulation, most of which will be implemented in 2024. Expect considerable AI policies to emerge from state governments this year, which will only complicate the patchwork of regulations that must be followed in the absence of any preemptive federal regulation.
International Regulation: Late last year, the EU adopted the groundbreaking AI Act, which represented the first comprehensive AI law enacted in the world. This legislation is set to officially go into effect in 2024, after it passes through final EU procedures. Stakeholders should expect that policies from this new law will be broadly implemented throughout this year, which will only further increase pressure on U.S. federal regulators to enact comprehensive regulation of their own.
With all of these factors at play, 2024 is poised to be the most consequential year yet for AI regulation. Stakeholders must remain actively engaged in the process to develop federal legislation as the policy arena will only continue to get more crowded over the next several months. Especially as lawmakers are confronted with the difficult task of regulating a technology that is continuing to be innovated, it is vital that stakeholders provide real-time information to guide the development of regulation that will be impactful over the long-term.