Half of Americans say Congress should take ‘swift action’ to regulate AI: poll


About half of Americans said Congress should be taking action to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) technology, according to a poll released Thursday. 

Fifty-four percent of polled registered voters said Congress should take “swift action” to regulate the technology in a way that promotes privacy, fairness and safety in a way that ensures “maximum benefit to society with minimal risks,” according to the poll conducted for the Omidyar Network-funded group the Tech Oversight Project. 

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Only 15 percent of respondents said that regulating AI will stifle innovation and put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage, according to the poll shared exclusively with The Hill. 

The tech industry has raised concerns around regulations stifling innovation and harming the US in global competition over AI. At the same time, national security and tech experts have been warning Congress to take action as generative AI tools, like the popular ChatGPT chatbot, enter the public market. 

The poll also found that 41 percent of voters said Congress should be the driving force behind AI regulation, and just 20 percent said that tech companies, such as Google, Apple, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft, should be leading the way. 

An additional 39 percent said they are not sure who should lead on AI regulations.

The poll was conducted by Change Research and surveyed 1.208 registered voters nationwide between April 28 and May 2. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. 

As AI technology ramps up, both through AI powering automated systems and through generative AI tools, the government is grappling with a range of risks from inherent bias leading to discrimination to increased threats of the spread of misinformation. 

As of now, guidance from the government, both through the White House’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework, largely lays out voluntary guidelines for companies to follow. The administration also said Thursday it will invest $140 million into research and development of AI. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last month also unveiled a proposal to create a framework for AI regulation in a way that aims to increase transparency and accountability. 

As Congress mulls action,  Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) put out a joint statement last month pledging to enforce existing laws that aim to uphold fairness and justice in response to issues posed by AI.

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