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Chuck Schumer-led group calls for $32 billion emergency spending on AI over the next three years

Chuck Schumer-led group calls for $32 billion emergency spending on AI over the next three years

A bipartisan group of four senators led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is recommending that Congress spend at least $32 billion over the next three years to develop artificial intelligence and place safeguards around it, writing in a new report released Wednesday that the U.S. needs to “harness the opportunities and address the risks” of the quickly developing technology.

The group of two Democrats and two Republicans said in an interview Tuesday that while they sometimes disagreed on the best paths forward, it was imperative to find consensus with the technology taking off and other countries like China investing heavily in its development. They settled on a raft of broad policy recommendations that were included in their 33-page report.

While any legislation related to AI will be difficult to pass, especially in an election year and in a divided Congress, the senators said that regulation and incentives for innovation are urgently needed.

“It’s complicated, it’s difficult, but we can’t afford to put our head in the sand,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., who convened the group last year after AI chatbot ChatGPT entered the marketplace and showed that it could in many ways mimic human behavior.

The group recommends in the report that Congress draft “emergency” spending legislation to boost U.S. investments in artificial intelligence, including new research and development and new testing standards to try and understand the potential harms of the technology. The group also recommended new requirements for transparency as artificial intelligence products are rolled out and that studies be conducted into the potential impact of AI on jobs and the U.S. workforce.

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds, a member of the group, said the money would be well spent not only to compete with other countries who are racing into the AI space but also to improve Americans’ quality of life — supporting technology that could help cure some cancers or chronic illnesses, he said, or improvements in weapons systems could help the country avoid a war.

“This is a time in which the dollars we put into this particular investment will pay dividends for the taxpayers of this country long term,” he said.

The group came together a year ago after Schumer made the issue a priority — an unusual posture for a majority leader — and brought in Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana and Rounds of South…

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