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Heinrich Convenes AI Insight Forums On Transparency And Intellectual Property

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Founder and Co-Chair of the Senate AI Caucus, hosted Congress’ sixth and seventh AI Insight Forums, bringing together a balanced, diverse, and bipartisan group of lawmakers and experts. The first forum focused on intellectual property and copyright issues. The second focused on the need to improve the transparency and explainability of AI systems.

“The democratization of automated creativity will have a number of hard-to-forecast impacts on the creative economy. But it’s already clear that creative industries will be among the most impacted by the most recent wave of generative AI models,” said Heinrich during the copyright and intellectual property discussion. “We need to set clear guardrails on AI technologies that protect intellectual property and fairly compensate creative work.If you are going to use AI, you have to use it as a tool for human content-creators, not as a replacement.”

During the transparency discussion, Heinrich said, “As AI systems increasingly impact many areas of our lives, we deserve to know when AI is behind what we see and what decisions are being made about us. Transparency is essential for public trust in information and institutions that are using AI.For high-risk use cases, we also need to understand—in detail—how AI systems actually work and how to correct errors.”

Heinrich continued, “The challenge is that many of the most successful AI architectures developed in these last few years are, by design, too complicated for humans to make sense of.So we need to make progress in two directions: First, building tools that help humans interpret the decisions made by these complex AI systems. Second, supporting research into alternative AI architectures that are more interpretable or controllable by design.”

Heinrich led the Forums with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.). Heinrich and his colleagues were joined by top experts involved in the development and deployment of AI, including in sectors spanning tech, civil society, and labor. 

Heinrich has already led successful bipartisan efforts on AI legislation. 

In 2020, Heinrich helped usher the most significant legislative advancements for AI ever secured. The FY21 National Defense Authorization Act included a modified version of my Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (AI-IA), a comprehensive national strategy aimed at bolstering U.S. leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and development. This legislation also included the bipartisan National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act to establish National AI Research Institutes at universities across the country.    

Additionally, Heinrich helped pass the Artificial Intelligence for the Armed Forces Act to advance the Department of Defense’s AI capabilities. Heinrich also helped provide the Pentagon with enhanced hiring authorities to recruit more AI professionals and other personnel with computational skills relevant to military applications.   

Heinrich also worked to establish the National AI Research Resource Task Force (NAIRR) to develop a detailed roadmap for the development of a national AI resource for AI research and convened a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed roadmap for how the United States can build, deploy, govern, and sustain a national research cloud and associated research resources.   

 A recommendation to establish the NAIRR came from the final report of the National Security Commission on AI, and work done by Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) significantly advanced the concept. This past January, the NAIRR Task Force released its final report with a roadmap for standing up a national research infrastructure that would broaden access to the resources essential to AI research and development.  

In July, Heinrich introduced the CREATE AI Act, legislation that implements many of the recommendations of the NAIRR Task Force, providing AI researchers and students with greater access to the complex resources, data, and tools needed to develop safe and trustworthy artificial intelligence.   

In September, Heinrich convened the first-ever bipartisan AI Insight Forum to help accelerate the committee process to build consensus around responsible AI policy. Additional AI Insight Forums have focused on AI’s implications for our elections and privacy and the workforce and risks and opportunities around high-impact applications of AI, including in the management of critical infrastructure, healthcare, lending, and employment

In October, Heinrich joined acclaimed writer and producer George R.R. Martin and University of New Mexico Professor and Santa Fe Institute External Faculty Member Melanie Moses to explore the influence of AI in arts and culture and its impact on New Mexico's creative economy. View a video of that event here

Heinrich maintains a lead role on Leader Schumer’s bipartisan working group as the Senate takes steps toward comprehensive legislation to address emerging AI.