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There Is No Master Regulator for All Human Decision-Making, It Does Not Make Sense to Have One for AI, Says Center for Data Innovation

May 16, 2023

WASHINGTON— In response to today’s Senate subcommittee hearing on rules for artificial intelligence, Hodan Omaar, senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, issued the following statement:

Congress held an important hearing on AI and the risks from this technology, but the primary proposal the senators discussed—creating a national regulator for AI and charging this regulator with giving out licenses to companies that make AI—is seriously flawed.
The United States does not need a new regulator for AI. Just as it would be ill-advised to have one government agency regulate all human decision-making, it would be equally ill-advised to have one agency regulate all AI. Regulators need industry-specific knowledge. What constitutes harm in consumer finance involves dramatically different criteria than what constitutes harm in healthcare, which is why the U.S. government has different sector-specific regulatory bodies.
During the growth of the Internet—another transformational technology—the United States did not establish a federal Internet agency to regulate all online activity nor require every Internet company to get a license from this regulator before they could sell their services online. Instead, regulators adapted to consider how to address new risks that emerge from the Internet.
Congress has an important role to play in creating an innovation-friendly regulatory environment that fosters transparency, responsibility, and accountability. There are many things it can do, including creating and passing bills that pursue algorithmic accountability, a national privacy framework, increasing the technical expertise of federal regulators, and charging federal agencies with developing sector-specific AI strategies that support the responsible deployment of AI, to name just a few.

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

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