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Peters Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Ensure the Federal Government Safely and Responsibly Purchases and Uses Artificial Intelligence

Michigan Business Network
June 17, 2024 10:00 AM

S. Gary Peters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to establish guardrails to ensure the federal government can harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, while safeguarding against potential risks and harms. As federal agencies are seeking to ramp up their purchase and use of AI systems, there is a pressing need to set standards and safeguards that will ensure the adoption of safe, secure and trustworthy AI to serve the American public. The legislation requires agencies to assess and address the risks of their AI uses prior to buying and deploying the technology. Additionally, the bill ensures the federal government reaps the benefits of this technology through the creation of pilot programs to test more flexible, competitive purchasing practices. This landmark legislation builds on requirements in the Advancing American AI Act, led by Peters, which became law in 2022.    

“Artificial intelligence has the power to reshape how the federal government provides services to the American people for the better, but if left unchecked, it can pose serious risks,” said Senator Peters. “These guardrails will help guide federal agencies’ responsible adoption and use of AI tools, and ensure that systems paid for by taxpayers are being used safely and securely.”   

The federal government is already using AI to interact with and make decisions about the public, and use of these systems is only expected to grow. While AI systems can help improve government efficiency, they can also pose risks if deployed improperly. The bipartisan Promoting Responsible Evaluation and Procurement to Advance Readiness for Enterprise-wide Deployment (PREPARED) for AI Act will guide the federal government’s activities, personnel and processes to effectively and responsibly procure and use AI. The bill requires agencies to classify the risk levels of their AI uses, with a focus on protecting the public’s rights and safety.

The bill will require government contracts for AI capabilities to include safety and security terms for data ownership, civil rights, civil liberties and privacy, adverse incident reporting and other key areas. It also requires agencies to identify, test, and monitor potential risks before, during, and after they buy these tools – including through ongoing testing and evaluation to mitigate potential risks. The bill also requires agencies to establish AI governance structures, including through Chief AI Officers, to lead and coordinate procurement efforts. The legislation would also establish pilot programs to streamline how agencies are able to purchase AI and other commercial technology – bolstering innovative adoption. Finally, the bill includes key provisions to encourage transparency of the government’s use of AI systems through public disclosures and reporting.  

Peters has been at the forefront of advancing bipartisan solutions to encourage American development of AI. In 2023, the Committee advanced Peters’ bipartisan legislation to designate a Chief AI Officer at every federal agency to coordinate responsible adoption and deployment of AI across the federal government. Peters’ bipartisan legislation to create an AI training program for federal supervisors and management officials also passed out of Committee. His bipartisan bill to create a training program to help federal employees responsible for purchasing and managing AI technologies better understand the capabilities and risks they pose to the American people was signed into law last Congress. In his role as Chairman, Peters has convened multiple hearings on artificial intelligence to ensure lawmakers support American development of AI to strengthen our nation’s competitiveness on a global stage and limit potential harms. 

The PREPARED For AI Act is supported by the Center for Democracy and Technology, Transparency Coalition, the AI Procurement Lab and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA). Below are statements in support of the legislation:  

“As agencies consider incorporating AI into government services and other processes, they must do so responsibly – working to protect people’s rights and ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars,” said Alexandra Reeve Givens, President & CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology. “The bipartisan PREPARED for AI Act lays a strong foundation by codifying transparency, risk evaluation, and other safeguards that will help agencies make smarter and more informed procurement decisions. We look forward to working with Senators Peters and Tillis to advance best practices and accountability in the government’s use and procurement of AI.”  

“The Transparency Coalition.Al writes to express our firm support of the proposed PREPARED for Al Act, which will provide much needed guidance for Federal Government agencies using Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of their operations. The PREPARED for Al Act deftly addresses the need for transparency around inputs, protecting data privacy while encouraging innovation, growth, and competition within this rapidly emerging industry,” said Rob Eleveld, TCAI Chairman.   

“The U.S. must ensure that innovation does not come at the expense of its citizens. Historical values that procurement promotes—price, competition, and innovation—do not adequately address the transparency, expertise, and oversight needed to manage AI risk. The PREPARED for AI Act helps to address these government challenges,” said Gisele Waters, Ph.D., and Dr. Cari Miller Co-Founders of the AI Procurement Lab.   

“While AI can promote innovative societal and economic benefits, it must be acquired and used within risk-mitigating frameworks that prevent potential harms such as critical failures and even loss of life. The requirements set forth in this bill provide the best path forward to help mitigate those harms,” said Keith Moore, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) President. “We believe that the PREPARED for AI Act, which recognizes the role that standards play in providing necessary best practices, will provide federal agencies with the AI governance framework they need.”  



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