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NCSL Releases New Report on AI Regulation in States

For Immediate Release

August 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today released a new report, “Approaches to Regulating Artificial Intelligence: A Primer,” highlighting the current landscape of AI regulation in the U.S.; the benefits and risks of deploying AI in certain sectors such as human resources, criminal justice and financial services; and considerations for policymakers as they determine how best to balance privacy concerns with enabling innovation and enhancing services through the use of AI.

Developed with input from NCSL’s Task Force on Cybersecurity and Privacy Work Group, a bipartisan group of 34 state legislators and five legislative staff, the report encourages policymakers to consider and assess the appropriate role of state government in regulating AI, and the extent to which states and the federal government can collaborate to create evidence-informed policy.

“AI is no longer a science fiction movie concept, but something that our advances in computer science and engineering have operationalized for a seemingly limitless set of applications,” says California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D), co-chair of the taskforce. “As state legislators we not only have a role in defining how our state and local governments may responsibly utilize these new AI tools, but also protecting our constituents as they engage with private sector businesses looking to adopt AI.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Proposed language for defining AI, a summary of current state legislation and federal activity regulating AI, and examples of leading private sector frameworks for governing the technology.
  • Policy considerations regarding international, federal and state activity surrounding the growth and use of AI so that state policymakers can determine how best to capture benefits and mitigate risks for their citizens.
  • Benefits and risks of using AI in certain sectors, such as financial services, criminal justice, employment and transportation.

Kentucky Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R), a member of the task force, adds, “Policymakers are famous for lagging behind the curve of new technologies, and the enormous wave of artificial intelligence is no different. Using a common vocabulary and understanding the potency of the rewards, and the risks, of the applications for AI is critical for state legislators. And this report will serve as a guiding document for policymakers to start thinking about how they want to address this emerging technology while prioritizing data privacy and security.”

NCSL is proud to take the lead in the state arena on this urgent and dynamic issue and looks forward to working with legislators and policymakers at all levels of government to develop solutions for state leaders.

The report was written by NCSL staff Erlinda Doherty, Susan Frederick and Heather Morton.

Read the full report here.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

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