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Heinrich Welcomes Biden AI Executive Order, Calls for Congressional Action

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Founder and Co-Chair of the Senate AI Caucus, is welcoming President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence.

“President Biden’s Executive Order is the single most significant and substantive action taken by any government to date to govern AI based on democratic principles,” said Heinrich. “The President is right to commit American leadership and expertise to the task of ensuring cutting-edge AI systems are developed and deployed responsibly.”

Heinrich continued, “I also appreciate that the Executive Order highlights the importance of developing a pilot implementation of the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR). The NAIRR, as described in my CREATE AI Act, will expand access to AI computing and data resources for researchers and students.”

Heinrich concluded, “This Executive Order applies the full scope of the administration’s authorities in this area, but ultimately Congress is going to have to legislate. Congress must proactively lead on responsible AI development, using this Executive Order as a baseline. We need to invest in American innovation that can lead to major benefits, and we need to establish sufficient guardrails to minimize AI’s risks. This is the moment for us to shape the inputs that will deliver us the AI future we want.”

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

Last week, Heinrich convened the second bipartisan AI Insight Forum, which brought together a balanced, diverse, and bipartisan group of lawmakers and experts to discuss how Congress and the private sector can foster sustainable innovation around AI. Heinrich convened the first-ever bipartisan AI Insight Forum in September to help accelerate the committee process to build consensus around responsible AI policy. 

This month, Heinrich also 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 artificial intelligence (AI) in arts and culture and its impact on New Mexico's creative economy. View a video of that event here

Heinrich has already led successful bipartisan efforts on AI legislation. 

In 2020, Heinrich helped usher the most significant 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 AIResearch 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.