South Carolina House speaker forms committee to explore AI regulation

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(The Center Square) — A South Carolina committee will explore artificial intelligence, cybercrime and cybersecurity, and the state’s House speaker wants to make it a permanent addition.

The Palmetto State joins a growing list of states, including neighboring Georgia, where policymakers are exploring their approach to AI.

According to a news release announcing the committee, its primary goal will be to “comprehensively examine AI technology and develop strategies to safeguard the rights and interests of South Carolina citizens.” House Speaker Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, said he wants the state House to make the committee a permanent fixture once the General Assembly organizes toward the end of next year.

“In a world where AI technology is advancing at a rapid pace, it is imperative that we comprehensively explore the impact that such rapidly evolving technologies will have on our state’s citizens,” Smith said in an announcement. “Only through careful examination and understanding can we ensure that these innovations are harnessed for the betterment of society, safeguarding the rights and well-being of South Carolina’s citizens first and foremost.”

In a release, the committee’s chairman, state Rep. Jeff Bradley, R-Beaufort, said the growth of “AI and emerging technologies presents both incredible opportunities and significant challenges,” adding he wants the committee to “help ensure that South Carolina’s citizens benefit from AI’s potential while safeguarding against potential risks, fostering a future that is prosperous for all.”

Brian Sathianathan, co-founder, chief digital officer and chief technology officer of Iterate.ai, said the committee’s formation “stands at the forefront of a crucial and transformative era.”

“This committee has the potential to significantly influence not only the technological landscape of South Carolina but also set a precedent for nationwide policies,” Sathianathan told The Center Square via email. “In undertaking its work, the committee should prioritize a multifaceted approach: firstly, understanding the ethical implications of AI and ensuring that AI development aligns with human values and societal needs.

“Secondly, the committee must address the growing threats of cybercrime by developing robust strategies to protect sensitive data and infrastructure,” Sathianathan added. “Moreover, fostering cybersecurity awareness and education will be key to empowering individuals and organizations against cyber threats. Collaboration with experts, academia, and the members of the tech industry will be essential for staying ahead of rapidly evolving technologies. This committee has the opportunity to craft a future where technology is harnessed for the greater good, ensuring safety, equity, and innovation for the people of South Carolina.”

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