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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Launching The SAFE Innovation Framework For AI And First Of Their Kind AI Insight Forums

Washington, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the launch of his SAFE Innovation Framework for AI and the upcoming AI Insight Forums. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Very soon, AI will reshape life on Earth in very dramatic ways: it will transform how we fight disease, tackle hunger, manage our lives, enrich our minds, and ensure peace. But we cannot ignore AI’s dangers: workforce disruptions in a very serious way, misinformation and new weapons, threats against our elections – and there’s the danger that we may prove incapable of managing this technology at all.

Congress cannot behave like ostriches in the sand when it comes to AI.

Yesterday, I laid out my SAFE Innovation Framework for AI. I call it that because Innovation must be our north star. AI could be our most spectacular innovation yet, could lead to generations of prosperity, so Congress must promote its growth here in the United States. But if people don’t think innovation can be done safely, without danger, that will stifle AI’s development and even prevent us from moving forward.

So my SAFE Innovation Framework balances both prioritizing Security, Accountability, protecting our Foundations, and Explainability, as safeguards, guard rails we need to make AI work safely for us.

Yesterday I also announced that later this year, I will invite the top AI experts to come to Congress and convene a series of first-ever AI Insight Forums, for a new and unique approach to developing AI legislation.

These Insight Forums are the first of their kind. They have to be the first of their kind, because AI moves so quickly, will change our world so decisively, is so much deeper in its complexity than almost anything else we have dealt with, and lacks the legislative history in Congress that other issues, like the military or education or health care, have.

Our jobs as legislators will be to listen to the experts and learn as much as we can so we can translate these ideas into legislative action.

And we must work quickly, but not precipitously, because this issue is so complex. We will have no artificial deadlines – this will be a matter not of days or weeks, and not of years, but months.

These forums can’t and won’t replace the activity already happening in Congress on AI. Our committees must continue serving as the key drivers for legislation we produce in Congress. But the AI forums will give us lots more information and knowledge from which we can draw legislation. And I thank all senators from both sides who are already working on this issue. We are keeping it bipartisan, as it must be.  

We must exercise humility as we proceed. Humility is the key word here, because this is so overwhelming. Success is not guaranteed. AI is unlike anything we’ve dealt with before, and it may be exceedingly difficult for legislation to tackle every single issue. But if we can find some solutions and create a some consensus, we must press ahead. As Theodore Roosevelt said, we are in the arena and there is no substitute for government being involved. Because without government, there will be no guard rails. Some companies may put them in, but they even won't put them in if other companies don't and gain an advantage. So government must be involved here. It's the only force powerful enough to impose guidelines on what could otherwise be an unfettered AI.