Delaware lawmakers seek rules for artificial intelligence

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(The Center Square) — Companies are using artificial intelligence tools to produce various documents, from term papers to home mortgages, but the technology has raised concerns about plagiarism, misinformation, racism and other societal harm.

Delaware lawmakers are pushing new regulations to prevent the emerging machine-learning technology from being abused. One proposal would create the Delaware Artificial Intelligence Commission, a formal body tasked with making recommendations to the General Assembly and Department of Technology and Information on AI utilization and safety.

One of the bill’s primary sponsors, state Rep. Krista Griffith, D-Wilmington, said the proposal is “aimed at harnessing the potential of AI while ensuring its safe and responsible utilization” in the state.

“While this new technology has transformative potential for both the public and private sectors, it’s critical that we recognize the risks and provide the necessary oversight,” she said in a statement.

A key responsibility of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive inventory of AI use by Delaware’s executive, legislative, and judicial agencies and identify high-risk areas in each. Backers of the bill say that by identifying high-risk areas, the commission would ensure AI technologies are deployed in a manner that keeps Delawareans safe and does not violate any individual’s rights.

“Rapidly developing technology often requires careful consideration to make sure our neighbors are protected from harm,” state Sen. Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown, another primary sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “While artificial intelligence has existed for decades, new advances have led to new uses that were unimaginable to most of us just a few years ago.”

The 17-member commission would comprise representatives from state agencies, experts in AI technology and constitutional rights. The governor and legislative leaders would appoint members of the board.

It would be required to submit an annual report to the Legislature detailing its progress in the previous year, outlining its goals for the upcoming year, and any recommendations for legislation, administrative actions or policy changes.

“Establishing a commission of experts and policy makers will guide our state toward the responsible utilization of AI technologies while helping us navigate the opportunities and challenges,” Griffith said.

At least 12 states have enacted legislation aimed at regulating AI use and development, according to the Council on State Governments. A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently published a framework to guide forthcoming AI legislation in Congress.

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