Senate AI roadmap's piecemeal legislation is ideal, says former FTC tech chief

Smaller bills mean more fine-grained control over vastly different AI products

interview The AI legislation roadmap published this week by a bipartisan group of US senators hasn't pleased everyone, but the Federal Trade Commission's former chief technologist believes it takes the perfect approach. 

Neil Chilson, who served as FTC acting chief technologist from 2017-2018, said that the roadmap's approach of prioritizing a bunch of small legislative efforts over one big AI bill makes good sense. 

"It's such a broad, general purpose technology," Chilson said of AI, "So it wouldn't make a lot of sense to have a single rule." He opined that allowing representatives to focus on their areas of expertise and committee assignment could lead to sector-specific approaches that end up being far more effective. 

The roadmap also touches on AI threats to elections, which coauthor Senator Chuck Schumer said is a priority area for him in the runup to the 2024 presidential election. Chilson isn't so sure there's actually that much of a threat to be spending time on. You can see the full interview with his reasoning below.

Youtube Video

The Abundance Institute, where Chilson serves as head of AI policy, has been looking into AI election interference, and he said it's discovered far fewer actual threats than the world is making things out to be.

"Our AI and elections tracker identified 7,500 plus media articles since January 21st of this year talking about the potential of AI to upend the election," Chilson told us. "Out of all of those discussions, we only found three actual incidents, the most famous being the Biden robocall in New Hampshire." ®

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