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Sen. Hawley introduces ‘guiding principles’ on future AI legislation, weeks after Senate hearing

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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, unveiled a set of “guiding principles” ahead of any future artificial intelligence legislation Wednesday, seeking to “protect Americans’ privacy” as the technology continues to develop. 

The Republican senator outlined five principles, first reported by Axios, aimed to “help set the course for the responsible development of American AI,” as lawmakers figure out how to deal with current and future advancements.

“Congress can and should act to protect Americans’ privacy, stave off the harms of unchecked AI development, insulate kids from harmful impacts, and keep this valuable technology out of the hands of our adversaries,” Hawley said in a statement.

The recent leaps in easily-accessible AI technology like ChatGPT have led both lawmakers and industry leaders to recognize the need for regulation.

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Hawley’s five principles, according to the senator’s office, are:

“First, create private rights of action. Individual citizens should have the right to sue companies for harm inflicted by AI models in order to hold those corporations developing AI accountable.

“Second, protect personal data. AI models should be prohibited from harvesting sensitive personal data without consent, with stiff penalties for misuse.

“Third, enforce age limits on use. To shield minors from harmful effects of generative AI technology, companies should be proactively blocked from deploying or promoting these models to children.

“Fourth, block technology to and from China. America should promote AI independence by blocking any importation of AI-related chips and technology from China, and by preventing American corporations from aiding China’s development of AI.

“Fifth, establish a licensing system. To protect consumers and promote transparency, require generative entities working on generative AI models to obtain a license.”

Sen. Josh Hawley speaks from the podium in a Senate hearing.

Sen. Josh Hawley announced a set of “guiding principles” ahead of any future artificial intelligence legislation Wednesday, seeking to “protect Americans’ privacy” as the technology continues to develop. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Hawley suggested additional “action” on AI legislation in collaboration with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., when he spoke with Axios, telling the outlet, “I would look for some significant, bipartisan action from the two of us soon.”

The guiding principles come just one day after the two senators sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday, demanding answers and additional information on the “leak” of its Large Language Model Meta AI (LLaMA) program.

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“Meta’s choice to distribute LLaMA in such an unrestrained and permissive manner raises important and complicated questions about when and how it is appropriate to openly release sophisticated AI models,” the senators wrote. “Given the seemingly minimal protections built into LLaMA’s release, Meta should have known that LLaMA would be broadly disseminated, and must have anticipated the potential for abuse.”

Richard Blumenthal

Hawley suggested additional “action” on AI legislation in collaboration with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., telling Axios, “I would look for some significant, bipartisan action from the two of us soon.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman spoke with Fox News Digital last month, after serving as a witness for a Senate subcommittee hearing on potential regulations on artificial intelligence. Altman touched upon specific examples of “scary AI.”

“An AI that could design novel biological pathogens. An AI that could hack into computer systems. I think these are all scary,” he said.

Sam Altman

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman spoke with Fox News Digital last month after serving as a witness for a Senate subcommittee hearing on potential regulations on artificial intelligence. (Senate Judiciary )

Likewise, Hawley spoke with Fox News Digital in late May about his concerns over AI’s ability to “manipulate Americans” and the information disseminated. 

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“I’m worried about AI’s power to manipulate our attention, to manipulate our opinions and to manipulate the information that we’re given,” he told Fox News Digital at the time. “Already you can see these generative AI systems – these large language models – that are trained on all the information on the internet.” 

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