Sen. Lankford wants federal transparency of “artificial intelligence” use

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Oklahoma U.S. Sen. James Lankford says the federal government should be required to show transparency of its use of artificial intelligence—the subject that is the target of growing controversy.

Lankford was joined by Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan and Republican Mike Braun of Indiana in filing a bill to force such transparency by federal agencies.

Their bill would require federal agencies to notify individuals when they are interacting with or subject to decisions made using certain AI or other automated systems.

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The bill also directs agencies to establish an appeals process that will ensure there is a human review of AI-generated decisions that may negatively affect individuals. 

“Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our federal government, but we must always keep security, privacy, and any unintended consequences in mind before we turn any process or decision over to a computer,” said Lankford. 

 “This bipartisan bill will ensure taxpayers know when they are interacting with certain federal AI systems and establishes a process for people to get answers about why these systems are making certain decisions,” said Sen. Peters.

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No American should have to wonder if they are talking to an actual person or artificial intelligence when interacting with the government. The federal government needs to be proactive and transparent with AI utilization and ensure that decisions aren’t being made without humans in the driver’s seat,” said Braun. 

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.

People who unknowingly interact with AI can often be confused or frustrated by how or why these systems make certain determinations according to the three Senators. They say their bill will increase transparency of the government’s AI use and provide increased opportunities for the public to appeal decisions that may be inaccurate or biased.  

The bill requires the Director of Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance to agencies to implement transparency practices relating to the use of AI and other automated systems. This guidance would direct agencies to notify individuals when they are interacting with certain automated systems.

It would also require agencies to notify individuals when a critical decision is made about them using an augmented decision process. Finally, the guidance would instruct agencies to establish human review appeals processes for individuals who receive an adverse critical decision made using an augmented critical decision process.

Source: Lankford press release