Wed. May 29th, 2024

As Congress struggles to develop policy for artificial intelligence (AI), state and local policymakers are proposing their own plans. However, these plans could potentially hinder the development of AI and undermine America’s global competitiveness. The number of state AI-related bills introduced has significantly increased, with some states proposing to study AI issues in more detail, while others are proposing sweeping regulations on AI technologies and companies.

For example, New York Governor Kathy Hochul proposed the creation of a state-of-the-art AI computing center in New York, called “Empire AI”, which seeks to promote the development of AI systems in the state. However, other lawmakers in New York have proposed restrictions on AI advancements through a “robot tax act”, which would penalize employers if algorithms or computer applications were thought to have displaced jobs. Similar regulations have also been proposed in California, which would empower state bureaucrats to dictate AI policy for innovators across the nation.

With state and local leaders proposing a patchwork of regulations, it is feared that algorithmic entrepreneurs could be burdened with red tape and compliance costs, hindering their ability to compete globally. It is argued that Congress needs to establish basic guidelines for national AI policy to limit the scope of state and local government regulation. A federal framework and positive innovation culture, similar to what was created for the internet, personal computing, and e-commerce, is needed for AI.

If the US wants to continue being a global leader in AI and advanced algorithmic technologies, state lawmakers will need to adopt better policies to promote innovation and investment in the sector. However, it is preferable for Congress to take the lead to ensure this happens, as relying on state and local regulations could hinder the development of AI and the US’s global competitiveness in the sector.

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